Ministry of Education to tackle mental health issues among students

| HOP, Josefine van Enk

The Covid measures in higher education may have been lifted, but the pandemic’s impact on students’ mental health remains. To address this issue, the Ministry of Education is now working on an ‘integrated approach’ to student wellbeing.

The corona crisis has taken a toll on young people. Research has shown that students experienced more stress and felt emotionally exhausted during the pandemic. It should be noted, however, that the results of these studies are not undisputed.  

The House of Representatives is also concerned about stress and mental health issues among students – problems that are not solely related to the pandemic. During a written consultation on the National Education Programme, the PvdA wanted to know what kind of ‘culture change’ was needed to reduce stress. The Party for the Animals asked if there would be ‘continued attention’ for the issue after the pandemic. Meanwhile, the SGP suggested that ‘physical health, which is related to student mental health’ also be taken into account. 

Pressure to perform

Education minister Robbert Dijkgraaf is working on it, he writes. The Ministries of Education and Health are ‘in the midst of discussions with sector representatives and experts about developing an integrated approach to mental health in higher education’. In addition to better support for students with mental health problems, preventative measures are also high on the agenda. Underlying causes such as ‘stress and the pressure to perform experienced by students’ will be addressed as well. 

The physical health of students will not be overlooked, Dijkgraaf assures the SGP. Moving forward, he will ‘explore collaboration on student wellbeing’ with the deputy minister of health. 

At a roundtable this week, the MIND Platform argued that educational institutions could do more to address the issue, for instance by offering classes on mental health.  

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