No more waiting lists for student psychologist

Fewer appointments with student psychologists. Are students doing better?
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Where students wanting to call on the student psychologist previously frequently faced waiting lists, this has no longer been the case for a while now. However, it is unclear whether that means students are doing better.

In the past, the waiting list was relatively stable: the number of students for whom the student psychologist was available was approximately equal to the number of students who registered for help. The waiting list was the result of a shortage in capacity within the student psychologist team.

The waiting has since been eliminated, but how? There are various possible reasons. The new exam policy may have played a part. With the new policy, there were no resits in August, meaning that students had a longer summer break. ‘This gave them more time to recuperate from the academic year, the student psychologist team thinks’, says Ingrid Heijman, head of the Student Service Centre (SSC). Moreover, the quiet summer meant there was more room in the psychologists’ calendars so that new registrations could plan a consultation immediately. As a result, the waiting list disappeared.

Fewer registrations

But the number of registrations with psychologists has also dropped compared to previous years. ‘We have built a solid system for student support’, says Heijman. ‘In addition to the psychologists, students have several other options for help. A different solution may benefit the student more, which is why we have started screening better.’

Thus, when a student reaches out, the first step is to analyse which solution would be best for their particular issue. ‘That may be to talk to a psychologist, but other options include a trajectory with a peer coach, a life coach, training with Student Training & Support or online through Gezondeboel. This ensures students are provided with the help they need sooner.’

No hard conclusions

But, perhaps, students are simply doing better. Hijman: ‘Covid has had a tremendous impact for a long time. I can see how students simply want to get on with their lives now. However, it is difficult for us at SSC to establish whether this is really the case, as students mostly reach out to us when things are not going all that well. And, although the psychologists are less busy, we see more students calling on the counsellors, so drawing hard conclusions is difficult.’

The student psychologists and student counsellors will publish their annual report in February. Hijman: ‘We will know more at that time. WUR also participated in a Trimbos study on student well-being and substance use. The results will be made available on 30 November. We are eager to discuss these results with students.’

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