Studying at a Dutch university? Here’s how you can FINALLY get more mental health help

Being a student is difficult, with many factors like stress, pressure to perform, and no free time to contend with. The silver lining? Several movements among Dutch universities are now more committed to helping students overcome these issues. 💪

Dutch universities have partnered with online platforms such as Caring Universities and Frisse Gedachtes, which are providing ways for students to get free online help to better their well-being. Yep, free — something we all love to hear, especially students. 😁

Talk to someone, fight loneliness

According to NU.nl, several Dutch universities such as Utrecht University, Leiden University, and Zuyd University of Applied Sciences in Maastricht are affiliated with the Frisse Gedachtes platform.

READ MORE | Studying in Amsterdam: everything you need to know

The goal of this online platform is to support every student in the Netherlands for free, by creating a safe space for students so that they don’t feel lonely. Nee hoor, your books shouldn’t be your only friends and company. 

How do they do this? Students can anonymously chat on the platform and be linked to a buddy, who is there to listen and support the student, for a lengthened period of time. That’s definitely better than asking your neighbour’s cat for advice. 👀

Caring for students’ emotional load

Another platform that allows students to lighten their emotional loads is Caring Universities. This initiative is partnered with various Dutch universities, such as the universities of Amsterdam, Leiden, Utrecht, and many others.

This initiative offers seven free online programs for the many problems students face, to help improve mood, reduce stress, overcome procrastination (ahem, are they targeting us? 😐), and a lot more. 

READ MORE | The Dutch want to HALVE the number of credits needed in first year of uni

“We see that students have fewer mental complaints and feel better about themselves,” says Sascha Struijs, the project leader of Caring Universities, about students who have used the programs. 

Build self-confidence and life skills

“It’s important to learn what stress is and how to deal with it,” says Jolien Dopmeijer, principal researcher at the Trimbos Institute to NU.nl. 

Dopmeijer says that planning moments of rest and consciously choosing yourself are important parts of developing mental health skills.

The researcher also adds that even if students feel like they don’t have time to relax and exercise, they should still do it. Does that include walking to the coffee machine for your fifth cup of coffee? Maybe not, but we say it’s gotta count for something. 😉

“By doing it anyway, the performance eventually improves,” Dopmeijer tells NU.nl. “Because your head has more peace of mind, and there is room for that one fierce deadline that you didn’t know where to start.”

READ MORE | Students, listen up: you could now get €440 a month just for studying in the Netherlands 

Carolien Gravesteijn, lecturer in Parenting at Hogeschool Leiden, advocates for a compulsory subject on life skills in primary and secondary school, as well as in higher education. 

Some of the things she believes should be included in the school subject are self-confidence and self-management. Students who have these skills are less likely to feel pressure when it comes to their studies.

We don’t know about you, but we definitely could have used that school subject. 😅

What do you think of these programs to help students with their mental health? Tell us in the comments!

Feature Image:Depositphotos
Simone Jacobs
Simone Jacobs
Originally from South Africa, Simone is having fun navigating the Dutch language, steep stairs, and bicycles (which she still manages to fall off of with her short, non-Dutch legs). An animal lover at heart, Simone can typically be found under her (growing?) mound of cats, where she uses the opportunity to read, write, and watch video compilations of creatures.

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