Mental health issues are a growing problem on campus. In the UK, a new report shows that students want universities to teach them how to stay mentally well as part of the regular curriculum. Could ‘emotional education’ help combat the high levels of stress and anxiety among students? Jos Haarbosch, student psychologist at Tilburg University, believes so.
The Guardian reports that out of the 1500 British students who were polled in the survey carried out by students’ mental health app Fika, over two-thirds said universities should offer emotional wellbeing courses on the curriculum. These courses could make students more resilient against a range of mental health challenges, from feelings of loneliness to depression.
According to student psychologist Jos Haarbosch, offering emotional education as part of the curriculum would be a major step towards tackling the surge of mental health issues faced by students. Not just on campuses across the United Kingdom, but on the Tilburg University campus as well.
Resilience as an academic skill
Haarbosch, who has been offering mental health counseling on campus for many years, sees an increasing number of students who experience stress, fear of failure and other mental health complaints in his practice. To help today’s students cope with the stresses and pressures they face, Haarbosch believes Tilburg University’s mandatory academic skills module—which teaches students writing, presentation and information skills—should also include mental health and wellbeing skills.
“Personally, I think it would be great if the academic skills module would include a mental health component,” Haarbosch explains. “Throughout their degree, this would allow students to acquire important skills that focus on different aspects of emotional resilience, such as stress management, time management, mindfulness, assertiveness, the use of smartphones and social media, and so on.”
Some of those skills are already offered to students within separate faculties or by Tilburg University’s psychological and counseling services, Haarbosch says, but always as elective trainings that students can choose to participate in next to their study programs.
“It has long been my dream to build emotional resilience education into the core curriculum”
“As a student psychologist, it has long been my dream to build emotional resilience education into the core curriculum of all of our students. This would help them prepare for the dynamic and uncertain world they must navigate during their university years and beyond.”
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