Students at risk of permanent mental health issues due to lockdown: Psychiatrists
Closed higher education institutions and vocational schools threaten to leave young people with permanent mental health issues, the Dutch Psychiatric Association said to Trouw. "These educational institutions should also open as soon as possible," association chairman Elnathan Prinsen said. The call is supported by higher education unions, the universities of the Netherlands, and the student union LSVb.
"The lockdown is intended to prevent illness, but it is the lockdown that is making people sick," said Prinsen. Child and youth psychiatrists are busier than ever, and students more often report mental health problems like stress, loneliness, anxiety, and depression. "Serious problems that can lead to a mental disorder," Prinsen said. Mental disorders make functioning in everyday life more difficult.
"We know from studies that three-quarters of mental disorders develop before the age of 21. The average age at which such a disorder starts is around 18, 19 years old, which is exactly the age of students in secondary vocational education, college, and university."
Adults generally managed to recover from the first lockdown mentally, but this was not the case for young adults, Prinsen said to the newspaper. "After the first lockdown, they reported 1.5 times as many mental complaints as before," Prinsen said. "If you then enter the next lockdown with more problems, they will pile up."
Prinsen thinks it is high time for the government to consider the long-term effects of its coronavirus measures. "Education is a fundamental right. But our education has been in crisis for two years because of the lockdowns."
Student unions and education institutions also sent a letter to the Outbreak Management Team, pleading for higher education and secondary vocational education to reopen as soon as possible, ANP reports.
"That is of great importance for the quality of education and the well-being of students," according to the student unions, the Association of Universities of Applied Sciences, the National Youth Council, and the Universities of the Netherlands. "The daily contact between students and with lecturers is of great importance for the quality of education and the well-being of students."