The management at WUR has allocated 50,000 euros to a campaign against stress, depression and burnout among students. The campaign is the initiative of the Student Council.
The Student Council held talks with the WUR’s student psychologists. ‘They indicate that a lot of students seek psychological support,’ says Jaap Kerr, Student Council member. ‘That is how the idea arose of a campaign for wellbeing and against stress and depression.’
One way the money will be used is for research on the extent to which WUR students suffer from stress and depression. ‘We don’t actually know exactly who has symptoms and what causes them,’ says Kerr. And from September there will be a public campaign to make it easier to talk about depressive thoughts and burnout, says Kerr. What that campaign will look like is still under discussion.
‘It is a big topic,’ confirms Mark Reijerman of student party Connect Wageningen. Combatting psychological problems among students is on his party’s programme. He recognizes the results of a national study published by Windesheim University of Applied Sciences last weekend. The study showed that one quarter of students suffer from depressive thoughts and burnout symptoms. One in five students was said to have suicidal thoughts.
Work pressure and worries about life after higher education appear to be the main factors causing depression. High rates of student debt are also blamed for low spirits among students.
WUR has four student psychologists in service, who offer short courses of therapy. There is currently a waiting list of two weeks. In an effort to shorten the waiting list, a daily surgery was started in February. ‘This meets a real need,’ says student psychologist Ineke Leenders. She too recognizes the trend described in the Windesheim study. KvZ