The role of teachers in students' mental health

Project leader
Rynke Douwes
2022 - 2024
Health and Welfare

What is the reason for the project?

Mental health of students in higher education is increasingly in the spotlight. Universities and colleges are therefore actively developing ways to provide appropriate support in the area of student wellbeing. Lecturers and student counsellors play a major role in this. However, we do not yet have a clear picture of how student counsellors take account of student welfare and specifically mental health in their guidance. Therefore, in 2020 we started a research project to map how mental health of students is part of the study career guidance.
What problem does the project solve?

In our research we focus on student career counselling from the perspective of students and teachers. The questions that are central to this research:

  • What is the view on student wellbeing and mental health from the student's perspective?
  • How do students perceive the role of student counsellors in their mental health?
  • What are the views of the student counsellors themselves and can we distinguish different types?
  • To what extent do the views of students and teachers correspond?
  •  What design can be used to further improve the support for students' mental health, taking into account the needs and views of both students and counsellors?

With our research we want to contribute to the shaping of this. We will do this in such a way that it does justice to the needs of both students and student counsellors.

Project team

  • Rynke Douwes (project leader)
  • Nynke Boonstra
  • Janneke Metselaar
  • Marieke Pijnenborg (University of Groningen)

Project approach

In several subprojects and together with students and teachers we are looking for answers to our questions and working on an innovation in a design-oriented way. The subprojects focus on the questions mentioned above. Once the views of students and lecturers are known, we will work with them towards innovative solution directions.

Main and preliminary results

With our research we aim to find answers to how students can best be supported in their mental health and in what way academic career counsellors can be instrumental in this. We report on our research by means of:

  •     Scientific publications
  •     Reports
  •     Recommendations