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Students help students

Students help students Students help students

A lot of attention for peer support during Well-being Week

MAASTRICHT. The student psychologists don’t receive many questions related to COVID-19 problems, says Liesbeth Mouha, student psychologist and fellow organiser of the Well-being Week, which is to start next week. “The people who do come with them, have often been in trouble before. So something was already going on there.”

Waiting times have increased though, “but that is always the case at this time of the year,” says Mouha. At the moment, students have to wait for an intake appointment until the beginning of December. From January onwards, the psychologists want to expand their walk-in office hours (the Quick Psychological Referral) to every day of the week, against only on Monday and Thursday, as it is today. “These are short talks in which we determine whether someone can do an intake with us or needs to be referred. It is a shame if someone ends up on our waiting list and then needs to be referred to the GGZ (Mental Health Care Sevice),where they again end up on a waiting list.”

It would appear that COVID-19 has not resulted in widespread mental problems, although Mouha thinks that it is difficult to map out exactly how students are doing. “We have clearly indicated what we have to offer; short periods of counselling. So, we don’t see people who need more help or who have already found their way to a GP or GGZ.” A nation-wide survey was sent to students in June, asking them how they were doing. “Those figures weren’t very representative for Maastricht. We are now waiting on the specific local figures from them. The UM also sent out a survey on problem-based learning and corona, that had a couple of questions about well-being as well.”

Mouha thinks that it helps that student psychologists have a large number of prevention programmes. “The workshops are going well and we focus a great deal on peer support. This involves a social aspect, which is something we cannot offer. If you are feeling lonely and want to make friends, you are better off talking to another student than to a psychologist.”

During the Well-being Week, there is also extra attention for how students can support each other. “We have organised twelve workshops by students for students, which are very popular. The two suicide prevention workshops – how can you talk to someone who is not feeling well – were also filled up immediately. You can see that people want to help each other, that there is a need for contact.” The latter is also apparent from the popularity of the few small face-to-face meetings that we have. “Even though that is also because of course only four students per meeting are allowed.”

For the full Well-being Week programme, visit https://www.aanmelder.nl/wellbeingweek2020

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