Erasmus MC Sophia has got a new center for children of parents with psychiatric problems


The new center wants to permanently draw attention to the often invisible target group

Erasmus MC Sophia has a new center for children of parents with psychiatric problems, or KOPP. The departments for child and adolescent psychiatry, psychiatry and obstetrics work together in the centre. In this way, problems are detected in time, and the correct, if necessary, preventive measures can be taken in good time.

Dr. Esther Mesman, GZ psychologist and co-initiator of the KOPP center explains: ‘In the Netherlands, each school class has an average of five KOPP students, often an invisible group. These children are at a higher risk of developing mental health problems themselves. You want to identify problems as soon as possible and take preventive measures if necessary. Then cooperation in the region is crucial.’ The KOPP center works together with municipalities, psychiatry, midwives, youth health care and other social institutions.

Rich research history
The combination of care with scientific research into the development and life course of (unborn) children of parents with psychiatric problems makes the new center something special. ‘At Erasmus MC, we have a rich history of research into the importance of psychiatric complaints in parents on the child’s development, from pregnancy to adulthood. We immediately translate the results of these studies into clinical care, political advice and the development of education.’

Patient at the center
The new center wants to permanently draw attention to the often invisible target group and aims to have the widest possible influence on the lives of parents and children. ‘We have a website that contains all information, specialisations, examinations and care providers. It has become much clearer, and the patient is central. We also recently organized a first public day for families, policy makers and care providers. We shared research findings with them and there was an interactive market where we as carers and researchers could talk to the public. There were over a hundred visitors, so we can call it a great success’.

For more information, visit the KOPP Center’s new website.


  • The Netherlands has an estimated 400,000 children of parents with mental health problems (KOPP). These problems can range from mood swings to depression and bipolar disorder.
  • Because of the circumstances at home, but also because of a possible hereditary predisposition, these children run an additional risk of developing mental health problems themselves: 40 to 60 percent end up with a mental health problem at a later age.
  • Why do some children develop mental health problems and others do not? Child psychiatrists suspect that it is about the interaction between genes and environment and the right connection with the resilience of children and families.

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New center for children of parents with psychiatric problems
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