8 July 2019 • HOP, by Melanie Zierse
Student wellness study: wait and see or get to work?
The VVD recommends waiting for the results of the RIVM follow-up study on young people’s mental health before taking action. The ChristenUnie believes that we must tackle student-related stress right away.
A stream of alarming reports revealed that students seem to be experiencing increasing levels of stress and burn-out. But at the end of May the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM) stated that current data don’t allow us to determine if this is actually true and what could be causing this. That’s why Minister Van Engelshoven has given the RIVM another assignment. Upon the request of Parliament, they will create a quantitative benchmark to assess the psychological problems of students.
Questions raised in Parliament have made it clear that many parliamentarians find stress among students an important issue and are pleased with this upcoming study. However, the VVD states that we should exercise some restraint. The party believes that it’s “premature to assume that students experience more pressure than before and are subject to more stress than youth who don’t study”. That’s why the party has asked if the minister is willing to wait for the results before drawing conclusions and implementing measures.
The ChristenUnie has a different opinion. The party wants to “underline the urgency of the issue”. Therefore the minister should not wait until the end of 2020, when the study data will be published, but take action now to prevent and reduce psychological concerns and stress among students.
In September, Coalitie-Y, a youth coalition composed of the ChristenUnie together with numerous youth and student organisations, will present a plan to reduce the pressure on students. “We are eagerly awaiting the results of the study, but it’s already quite clear that we need to take action,” said party leader Gert-Jan Segers in mid-May. He wants to make the issue the subject of discussion and advocates for more student psychologists.
The minister’s answers will be expected in a few weeks.