Happy or not

Are you happy? Or maybe not so happy. You might feel stressed or even blue. International studies show that at least 15% of all university students are suffering from depression and/or anxiety. The Caring University project is setup to reach out to this group. We have developed a test that you can take online, completely confidential.

Screening

The test is a screening to see what is your mental health state, if you are healthy or at risk for depression and anxiety. When you score positive on one of these factors, you will be invited to participate in our online follow-up intervention. It is all free of charge. The intervention is guided by a clinical psychology master student, it is confidential and e-only.

Trial

The screening and the interventions are part of a randomized controlled trial. The researchers from the VU University want to learn more about the effectiveness of a web-based intervention in preventing student depression and/or anxiety. If this is proven to be successful, the approach taken in this project can be extended to other student groups as well.

This is why we care

  • The college years are a crucial time period

    • Transition from adolescence to adulthood
    • Risk behaviors, such as excessive alcohol
  • Most mental disorders begin before age 24

    75% of all lifetime mental disorders have their onsets before 24 years. In addition, mental disorders are more prevalent among students.

  • Great delay in seeking treatment

    Resulting in low academic attainment and college dropout.

Personal Stories

Silvia’s story

Ever since I was a child, I’ve had a lot of worries. I have now realized that death was my biggest fear. When I started university, it has all got worse. I have moved into a new city away from my boyfriend, friends and family ...

Lucas’s story

People that have known me from when I was young would describe me as being a cheerful, energetic and hard working person. ... I would have never predicted that I would end up having a depressive episode with suicidal ideation before graduation, but I did...

Jeannette’s story

Ever since I can remember, I have always had anxiety. I was feeling anxious and scared. I was afraid to try new things. I was 14 when I had my first panic attack while hanging out with friends. After this incident, nothing was the same again....

Internet Based Treatment

  • What is Internet-based treatment?

    Internet based-treatment is just treatment though Internet.

    • Imagine you’ re feeling anxious, you’re worrying about exams and for several other small or large things, you cannot relax and concentrate in your studies and you are unable to take even small decisions. You think that this situation can’t keep going. So, you go to your GP and you ask for an advice. In most of the cases, the GP will either prescribe pills or refer you to a psychiatrist or a psychologist.
    • Imagine now that you get the last option and you start psychotherapy.  You set appointments with the therapist and you meet him/her once or twice every week for a couple of months.  So far so good? Lets now answer some frequently asked questions…
  • How do you think these meetings with your therapist will look like?

    Will these meetings be structured?

    • Every therapist believes in one or more psychotherapeutic theories. These theories are nothing else but explanations of why you’re feeling, for example anxious. These explanations have helped psychologists to build treatments that are very structured. So, if you guessed that your meetings would be structured as well, that’s correct!  You will describe your problem, you will set goals and you will work out solutions.
    • The same exactly things you do in Internet-based treatments. The only difference is that you do not have to go to your therapist. Instead, you can sit on your coach or be wherever else you like and you can follow the psychotherapy sessions online in your own time.
  • But is there any psychologist behind the computer?

    Sometimes yes but sometimes no. In an Internet based intervention you mainly work on your own. In most of the cases a clinician or master level psychologist is guiding you though the content and gives you feedback on your progress through emails.

  • Why through Internet?

    To understand this, you need to think of your own life or the lives of your peers. You have classes, exams, assignments and maybe many other obligations. Do you have enough time to go to the therapist or enough money? Wouldn’t be easier if you could do the sessions for free whenever you want? Internet can overcome several barriers of face-to-face treatment, such as the high cost and the accessibility.

  • Are these therapies effective?

    Yes, they are effective, especially when they are delivered with some form of guidance.  Research findings have shown that the mode of delivery (Internet vs. face-to-face) doesn’t influence the outcomes of psychotherapy in common mental disorders, such as depression and anxiety.

If you have any other question, do not hesitate to contact the Caring Universities team.
Send us an email at caring.universities@vu.nl and we will get back to you as soon as possible.

About Caring Universities

An International Endeavour

The Caring Universities project is embedded within the World Health Organisation (WHO) college student mental health surveys (WHM-ICS) led by prof. dr. Ronal Kessler  (Harvard Medical School).  This international initiative aims at improving our knowledge on college students’ mental wellbeing.  Realising the needs of students will help us in prevention but also in early detection and treatment of mental disorders during college years.

The Caring Universities project takes a step further and offers for free a web-based intervention to students in need. So far, four universities will provide treatment to students (VU Amsterdam, KU Leuven, FAU Erlangen, Harvard Boston). In the following years, more universities are expected to join this endeavour.

What does the term ‘Caring Universities’ mean?

Universities should care about students’ mental health but also students should care about their own and their peers’ mental health.

what-does-it-mean

About Us

Meet our team

prof. Pim Cuijpers, PhD

prof. Pim Cuijpers, PhD

Professor of Clinical Psychology at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam and head of the Department of Clinical Psychology.

prof. Heleen Riper, PhD

prof. Heleen Riper, PhD

Professor eMenal Health at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam.

Eirini Karyotaki, PhD

Eirini Karyotaki, PhD

Postdoctoral researcher in Clinical Psychology at VU Amsterdam. Co-ordinator of the Caring Universities project at VU

Annet Kleiboer, PhD

Annet Kleiboer, PhD

Associate professor at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

Felix Bolinski, MSc

Felix Bolinski, MSc

PhD candidate in Clinical Psychology at VU Amsterdam

Leonore de Wit, PhD

Leonore de Wit, PhD

Hoofd sectie onderwijs afdeling Klinische psychologie.

Neeltje Batelaan, PhD

Neeltje Batelaan, PhD

Psychiatrist and researcher, VU-mc and GGZ inGeest.

prof. Reinout Wiers, PhD

prof. Reinout Wiers, PhD

Professor and Chair of Developmental Psychopathology at UvA

Anke Klein, PhD

Anke Klein, PhD

Postdoctoral researcher in Developmental Psychopathology at UvA Co-ordinator of the Caring Universities project at the UvA

Eline Bol, MSc

Eline Bol, MSc

Research assistant of Caring Universities project at both UvA and VU Amsterdam

Claudia M. Van der Heijde , PhD

Claudia M. Van der Heijde , PhD

Senior Research Scientist at the Student Health Service, UvA