Statistics Netherlands: lockdowns were hard on young people

Statistics Netherlands reports that one out of every four young adults was ‘mentally unhealthy’ at the beginning of 2021.

Photo for illustration. (Photo: Dalia Madi)

Young people experienced feelings of sadness, agitation and unhappiness more than before. By now everyone is familiar with the stories about students wasting away at their laptops, and now Statistics Netherlands also reports that the coronavirus crisis has been tough on young people aged between 18 and 25.

Every year, Statistics Netherlands measures mental health using a survey about sadness, anxiety, serenity and happiness. This time around, approximately ten thousand people completed the survey.

At the start of 2020, right before the first lockdown, approximately 12-15 percent of young people indicated that they were feeling down. One year later, this number was approximately ten percent higher. The difference is smaller in other age groups.

Source: CBS.

Statistics Netherlands does not distinguish based on educational level, so university of applied sciences students and university students are all included in the figures.

The findings support the stories circulating about young people weighed down by the crisis and aligns with studies by other institutes including Radboud University Nijmegen. The university in the east of the Netherlands concluded last June that over half of the town’s students feel more depressed than a year ago. One in ten even feels ‘a lot worse’.

Students’ psychological issues top the list of reasons to open up higher education right at the start of the academic year, against the advice issued by the Outbreak Management Team. 
Perhaps surprisingly in this context, universities reported in a press release earlier this week that only a limited number of students are currently behind in their studies.

Do you need help?

  • You can reach the TU Delft student psychologists at #. There is an 8 to 10 week waiting list, but there is also a daily walk-in hour.
  • TU Delft’s psychologists have published some tips and tools for studying during the corona crisis. For example, there’s a web page on recognising psychological problems.
  • Motiv organises support groups and individual consultation. They also have a student support line: 015 2006060.
  • You can also call Victims Support Netherlands: 0900-0101.
  • Is there a suicide risk? Mostly, 113 Suicide prevention can offer help in English.
  • Are you worried about someone else? Please contact ‘Meldpunt Bezorgd’. You can call their number 0900 040 040 5. Or visit their website (in Dutch) for more information. This service is meant for people living in Delft. Does the person you are worried about not live in Delft? Please contact the general practitioner, 112 or 113 depending on the situation. In case of a crisis please always contact 112.
  • Since march TU Delft students can join online peer-to-peer sessions hosted by X. The online meeting start every work day at 6 pm.

HOP, Bas Belleman / Delta
Translation: Taalcentrum-VU.

HOP Hoger Onderwijs Persbureau

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