It is temporarily not possible for students to make an appointment with the student psychologist. With the team of student psychologists understaffed, the waiting list has become too long. The freeze is expected to last until the end of January.
The student psychologists have agreed with study advisors and deans that they will always be available for urgent cases, while all other cases will be referred to their GPs. In life-threatening situations, the best thing is of course to call 112.
For urgent or quick questions on psychological or social problems, students can always go along to the walk-in sessions in the Forum (room 030). These sessions take place during the lunch hour between 13.00 and 14.00. The aim of the walk-in is to provide an accessible way for students to tell their story and get advice. The walk-ins currently take place from Tuesday to Friday every week.
The waiting list grew long because towards the end of 2019, the team of student psychologists was not fully staffed, whereas the number of requests for appointments grew, partly as a result of the Surf you Stress week. ‘When there were 100 students on the waiting list, we said: stop, this is not on. Do we give people the impression we can help them if it takes more than eight weeks before they can be seen? So we closed for new appointments and took other steps,’ says Door van der Sloot, student welfare manager at the Student Service Centre.
Meanwhile, two new student psychologists have been appointed who will start work in mid-February and March. This will bring the team from 3.2 to 4.8 fte (fulltime equivalent), divided over six psychologists. Freelance therapists have also been hired temporarily, which has helped cut the waiting list to 60 students. There are also plans for a training centre for students which will offer courses on stress management, fear of failure, procrastination and how to organize your work. ‘We expect it to be launched in May or June but we are going to offer the courses before that. I expect that will reduce the pressure on the student psychologists somewhat.’ Van de Sloot expects it to be possible to make an appointment again from the beginning of February.’