20 October 2019 | Category: Tips and advice for studying in Wageningen

Student Psycologist Interview “keep the balance between work and social life” by Madhu

By Ester

I grew up on the Catalan Pyrenees, where my heart belongs. I...

An interview with Ineke Leenders was done before the summer break. Ineke is a student psychologist working at the Student Medical Center in the Nexus building right across ‘Het Restaurant van de Toekomst’ (Impulse). Visiting the student psychologists is free of charge and all contact between students and student psychologists is treated confidentially.

This interview was done to throw some light into the practicalities related to mental health. Following the World Mental Health Day on October 10th, there seemed like no other time good enough to publish the interview.

Nexus building. Photo: Ester


– Madhu : As a psychologist when do you think students need to seek help?

– Ineke: If there is something troubling you, first try and seek help from your immediate family and friends. They know you well enough and they would be willing to listen to you. Don’t hesitate to reach out to them. If you think the feeling of being sad and unmotivated to do anything is persistent, it may be important to seek professional help. If you consistently feel stressed or insomnia then it can also prove to be something not very normal. Then it is mandatory you don’t hesitate to seek help. Don’t wait until it is at a peak or you know it is going to keep you from doing your everyday activities. Get a referral from your GP and seek medical help.


– Madhu : It’s really difficult to get an appointment here unless it’s really urgent,how to cope until then?

– Ineke: Honestly, it does depend on the month. If it is summer, there is a long waiting line because a lot of international students arrive here and they are far away from home and they feel all these emotions that need to be addressed. You could cope in different ways. You can go into the walk in counselling at forum and seek help if it is urgent. Otherwise you could also take the stress reduction courses. You can talk to the https://weblog.wur.eu/dissertation-essay-service-feedback/if you think you would need a break in between your study to slow down a bit. But most importantly, talk to your friends,family.

Don’t withdraw and conceal your feelings. Mental health is a taboo and sharing what you feel with someone is very important. Being brave is difficult in times like these but it is worth opening up to someone you trust.


– Madhu: What are some of the biggest differences in culture that could possibly trigger mental health disorders?

– Ineke: Every culture has some practices that vary significantly from the other. What is important to think about before feeling angry that someone said something inappropriate or rude to you is to understand for a minute the context in which the conversation is happening. For example a lot of dutch people are known to be rude/direct and it is a bit too much to handle for someone from a culture where people don’t talk to your face but it is nobodys fault in this case because the context in which each of us were brought up was different. What is normal for one could be over the top for someone else. Before jumping to any conclusions, make sure to ask and clarify. Don’t interpret things based on your context but interpret it based on the context of the person talking to you.


– Madhu: How can we raise more awareness about mental health among students without thinking it’s shameful?

– Ineke:  Talk. Talk. Talk. Break the taboo. Write about it like you are doing. Make sure the other person feels safe when they share something. In this way you create a space where you encourage them to talk about their feelings. In November, we will also be doing a week where we will talk about how to surf your stress and help students understand how to deal with it.

It is normal to feel stressed but it is important to keep the balance between work and social life. Try helping each other and be there for your friends.


– Madhu: What are some realistic ways to deal with stress?

– Ineke: Do things together. Study together, take breaks together. Meet friends and talk about things that are not stressful. Bicycle around the city. Talk to your teachers if you are not able to understand something. There is no need to hide or be ashamed, you are all here to learn and help each other. All the teachers are extremely kind and they would be glad to help you if you feel stuck. So many students are in the same position as you, so don’t feel shame when you seek support from one another.


I thank Ineke for her time to answer these questions. It is important to take time for yourself during this busy life we all are living. I think it relevant to attempt to confide in someone you trust when it comes to talking about things that trouble you.

Mental health is as important as physical health.

Through this interview, I also learnt context is extremely important when you are interacting with your peers. What you may find normal, someone else might not and it is extremely useful to openly clarify and not carry assumptions and judgements about someone you probably just met. Take time to understand someone, it is probably worth every bit of it. 🙂


It’s also possible to present your problems or questions to the student psychologists via e-mail  nursing application essay

For emergencies, in case of a life-threatening psychological crisis, or if you feel the need to protect yourself from yourself:







Post written by Madhu

By Ester

I grew up on the Catalan Pyrenees, where my heart belongs. I am currently enrolled on the MSc Food Technology program at Wageningen.
I could describe myself as a sunrise person underneath the restless and ever moving mind. I love running in the mountains, surrounded by nature and its beauty. I am passionate about learning, cooking, traveling and collecting plants to make handmade jewelry.

I live everyday as a new exploring adventure, step by step.

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