A 2021 report by the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM) shows that 80% of students feel lonely. Life transitions (major changes, such as leaving secondary school and going to university) put a lot of pressure on young people. Your life changes and you have to take on more responsibilities, which can cause insecurity and stress. Combined with lockdowns and limited social interactions, this could lead to feelings of loneliness, according to Gerine Lodder of Tilburg University.
Especially students who started university in the middle of the pandemic are very lonely, as they have had little to no opportunity to form a social network.
Loneliness can literally make you ill, so don’t hesitate to ask for help. You can contact your GP, who will refer you to a psychologist. Unfortunately, the waiting lists for mental health care are very long at the moment.
If you live in Utrecht, your GP can also refer you to ‘Welzijn op Recept’.
(Student) psychologist and coaching
Your GP will usually refer you to a psychologist, but you can also contact the student psychologist of your university. HU students can make an appointment through the student counsellor. Click here for more information and contact details. For more information on the UU student psychologist, click here. The UU charges 25 euros for an intake appointment. Online coaching is available as well. Click here for more information.
Things you can do yourself
Consider joining a study association. Many study programmes have one.
You could also join a student association. These aren’t linked to a particular study programme, but are based around, for example, a philosophical point of view or a hobby.
Of course, there are also sports and cultural clubs you could join.
Join Us is a foundation that puts young people in touch with each other and helps them practise their social skills. You can also join a Nizu buddy project of the Network Informal Care Utrecht (Nizu). Check out the Student Care Guide by Vidius for more suggestions.