Community Mental Health Journal

, Volume 51, Issue 2, pp 175–184 | Cite as

Outsourcing Mental Health Care Services? The Practice and Potential of Community-Based Farms in Psychiatric Rehabilitation

  • Sorana C. IancuEmail author
  • Marjolein B. M. Zweekhorst
  • Dick J. Veltman
  • Anton J. L. M. van Balkom
  • Joske F. G. Bunders
Original Paper


Psychiatric rehabilitation supports individuals with mental disorders to acquire the skills needed for independent lives in communities. This article assesses the potential of outsourcing psychiatric rehabilitation by analysing care farm services in the Netherlands. Service characteristics were analysed across 214 care farms retrieved from a national database. Qualitative insights were provided by five case descriptions, selected from 34 interviews. Institutional care farms were significantly larger and older than private care farms (comprising 88.8 % of all care farms). Private, independent care farms provide real-life work conditions to users who are relatively less impaired. Private, contracted care farms tailor the work activities to their capacities and employ professional supervisors. Institutional care farms accommodate for the most vulnerable users. We conclude that collaborations with independent, contracted and institutional care farms would provide mental health care organizations with a diversity in services, enhanced community integration and a better match with users’ rehabilitation needs.


Farms Rehabilitation Community integration Outsourcing professionalization Logistic regression 



The authors would like to thank to Bart Jan Krouwel, chairman of the Federation for Agriculture and Care, for granting permission to use the data published online by the Federation.

Conflict of interest

This study was funded by TransForum Netherlands, a temporary collaborative programme between research institutes, Dutch government, non-governmental organisations and private sector, which conducted research on agriculture in a metropolitan context. TransForum Netherlands had no involvement in the design, data collection, analysis and interpretation, in the writing of the report or in the decision to submit the paper for publication. The authors report no conflicts of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sorana C. Iancu
    • 1
    Email author
  • Marjolein B. M. Zweekhorst
    • 1
  • Dick J. Veltman
    • 2
  • Anton J. L. M. van Balkom
    • 2
  • Joske F. G. Bunders
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Innovation in the Health and Life Sciences, ATHENA InstituteVU University AmsterdamAmsterdamThe Netherlands
  2. 2.Department of Psychiatry, EMGO+ Institute for Health and Care ResearchVU University Medical Center, GGZ InGeestAmsterdamThe Netherlands

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