The Danish Health Care System - Regarding Psychotherapy
a guide for gaining psychological support in denmark
It is not easy to be in a foreign country, needing psychological help. I often answer questions from international site visitors on how the Danish health care system works, regarding psychological treatment. That is not strange, as it can be quite a jungle to navigate through - even for Danes! Below, I sum up some basic information that you might find helpful if you are a newcomer.
Publicly supported psychotherapy for adults
With a referral from your general practitioner, you have the right to receive psychotherapy with public support. That will bring the normal fee down to around 400 kr. a session (see below about Sygeforsikringen "danmark").
Below is a complete list of criteria, that your doctor will have in mind when you ask him for a referral to a psychologist:
robbery, violence and rape victims
traffic and accident victims
relatives of seriously mentally ill persons
persons suffering from seriously debilitating illness
relatives of persons suffering from a seriously debilitating illness
relatives of recently deceased persons
persons who have attempted suicide
women having undergone induced abortion after the 12th week of pregnancy
persons who, before the age of 18, have been victims of incest or other sexual assaults
persons above the age of 18 years with mild to moderate depression
persons between the ages of 18 and 38 years with mild to moderate anxiety disorder, including mild to moderate OCD
Free psychological treatment for youngsters between the ages og 18 and 24 years
A previously temporary trial scheme entitling youngsters to free psychological help for anxiety and depression has shown so much success, that this scheme has been made permanent. Since the second semester of 2021, youngsters between the ages of 18 and 24 years suffering from anxiety or depression can now receive fully publicly funded psychotherapy. Please note, that this scheme is only accessible with a referral from your general practitioner.
Children under the age of 18 years
Children and young people under the age of 18 are also entitled to psychological help according to the practice agreement regarding psychotherapy. However, this scheme does not cover anxiety and depression. Again, referral from your general practitioner is the key to this service.
Waiting lists for publicly supported psychotherapy can be long
The authorities are controlling expenses for psychotherapy by limiting the amount of psychologists with a public support agreement. Further, there is a limitation to the amount of clients with public support, that any of those psychologists can take in every year.
There is a quota for every of the above mentioned 11 criteria, and the quota for depression and anxiety are often filled up quickly - resulting in even longer waiting lists for treatment for these criteria, than you will usually find within this scheme.
Should you have a referral, you might try a search on www.sundhed.dk (unfortunately only in Danish) for length of psychologists' waiting lists in your area with or without public agreement. Waiting lists are often shorter in more rural areas, so it can be a good idea to broaden your geographical area as much as possible.
Please note, that I do not have a public service agreement and thus can not offer you the public discount.
Private health insurances
The terms of coverage for psychotherapy differs between private health insurances. Many insurances offer full coverage of sessions with an authorized psychologist (as am I). However, some insurances have their own network of psychologists, and will not (or not fully) cover sessions held outside of this network.
Some insurances initially advice you to choose from their own network of psychologists (as those usually work under reduced rates, thus it is cheaper for the insurance company), but should there be special reasons such as language barriers or other individual concerns, it may be possible to choose your own psychologist. Please check the terms of your insurance for specific information.
Sygeforsikringen "danmark" is a members-owned private health insurance that contributes financially to ordinary health-related expenses. You can choose between four different insurance groups. Most of these groups cover part of the fee of psychotherapy, if you meet one of the criteria mentioned under Publicly Supported Psychotherapy. This applies to sessions with an authorized psychologist (as myself), whether you have a referral from your general practitioner or not. Please check the terms of your insurance for specific information. You can read more about Sygeforsikringen "danmark" in English here.
Community financed psychological treatmenT
In some cases, you might be able to get full or partial coverage of psychotherapy through your community. Please ask your social worker at your community, whose name you should be able to request at Borgerservice, phone (Aarhus): +45 89402000.
Industrial Industry Board (Arbejdsskadestyrelsen)
In relation to certain work related mental injuries, the Danish Industrial Board (Arbejdsskadestyrelsen) subsidizes psychological treatment. Follow this link or call +45 72206000 for further information.
Acute psychiatric care
In case of severe and acute crisis, you might need to go to the psychiatric emergency room ("Psykiatrisk Skadestue"), which is part of the hospital system in Denmark. To go there, you need to talk to your general practitioner first. If you need help outside of office hours, the doctors on call (”Lægevagten”) can help you further: Phone: +45 70113131. Your general practitioner or doctor-on-call will refer you to further relevant treatment. I hope this was useful to you! In case you have any further questions, please don't hesitate to contact me.