Results third Caring Universities survey

30 March 2022

For two years now, we are in a pandemic with a big impact. Many are struggling, and an important affected group are students. Caring Universities is a project from Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, Leiden University, Utrecht University, Maastricht University, the Erasmus University Rotterdam, InHolland university of applied sciences and the University of Amsterdam. Within this project, the mental health of students from these seven universities is explored and students are offered tools to get started working on their mental health and increase their resilience.

Student wellbeing is important for universities. That is why they work even harder to during the corona crisis to offer support to students. From the third annual survey of the Caring Universities project that was conducted last November, it appears that many students still suffer from psychological complaints such as anxiety, stress, and mood complaints. We saw the same results in our previous Surveys conducted in June 2020 and January 2021. Students also indicate to experience problems from the pandemic and the measures taken in terms of study progress and mental health. Exactly how many Dutch students experience problems is unclear due to a limitation from the research results. The response rate was low (approximately 7.2 percent) so the results are possibly not representative for all students. It’s plausible that students experiencing mental health problems, are more inclined to fill out the survey. Despite this limitation, all participating universities take this signal very seriously and are looking for ways to continuously support their students.

Caring Universities does this by offering different online eHealth programs specifically designed for students. These are easily accessible, anonymous if preferred, and under the guidance of professional e-health coaches. Students can for example be offered tools to get started with working on mood complaints, reducing stress and combatting procrastination. These programmes get a positive rating from students: 80 percent of users indicate being (very) satisfied. Soon new programmes will be launched for improving sleep and combating performance pressure.

The next survey is expected to be sent out in November in the academic year 2022-2023. For detailed study results, we refer to the study report.