The number of young people with mental problems has ‘very slightly risen’ over the course of ten years, according to CBS figures. From 7 to 8 percent. That contradicts the very many posts that students often suffer from anxiety, stress and depression. RIVM has therefore announced a follow-up study, but this was going to take too long for ISO. “The number of problematic symptoms is really high,” says ISO chair, Kees Gillesse.
Minister of Education, Ingrid van Engelshoven, has said that she wishes to take measures in response to the new RIVM study. Gillesse emphasises that he recognises the importance of RIVM conducting additional research. “However, it will only be published at the end of next year.”
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For that reason, the ISO has written a report into student welfare based on eighteen previous studies. “You need to be careful when comparing these studies, but doing nothing with them is the other extreme. If you place the results side by side, they may not give a representative picture, but they do provide a broad view of the problem. Research has shown that students with loans suffer more from stress than students who don’t. And we feel the problem must be tackled fast. Consider it an intermediate step, whilst awaiting the complete national picture.”
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A third of the students questioned have problems with concentration, fear of failure and depression, according to the ISO report. “In an average lecture hall, there will be three students at serious risk of suffering a burn-out. We send young people out onto the labour market having already suffered a burn-out,” says Gillesse.
The ISO also makes some recommendations. Waiting times for student psychologists are still too long in many places, says the student organisation. They also call on politicians: “We mustn’t just put a band-aid on the problems, but also change the system to prevent the issues occurring.”