KABK organises Mental Health Weeks for the first time

26 april 2022

For the first time the KABK organises Mental Health Weeks. From 9 till 13 May students can learn about different topics regarding Mental Health. One week later, from 16 to 20 May, workshops are organised for employees of the KABK. Mirjam Pol, Student Counsellor at the KABK, says: "Study progress and well-being are inextricably linked.” But in what way? Pol tells that and more in this interview.

Where did the idea for two Mental Health Weeks come from?
“There is still a lot of work to do in order to boost student welfare. I have been working at the academy for three years now and I talk to a lot of students; some students are tired, others are anxious or show signs of depression. For me, study progress or study success without well-being is not okay. They are inextricably linked.”

"I aim for both study success and student well-being. If you feel better, you also perform better. If you feel good, you don't need to use your working memory capacity to deal with stress, which the system automatically does when you are stressed. That capacity is then released and you can use it for your projects. Also, when you feel good you get more access to your executive functions: this is planning, overview, prioritising, but also flexibility and creativity. So it's pure profit when students and staff feel good.”

Mirjam Pol, Student Counsellor KABK
Mirjam Pol, Student Counsellor KABK. © CrejadesPhotographs

Why are there two separate weeks?
“The goal of the mental health week for staff is to share knowledge about how to help our students. The idea of the week for students is that with the knowledge that is offered this week, we can support them a little bit.”

“Another reason why I do want to keep them separate is that, for example, the lecture on guiding students with AD(H)D: I want the teachers and staff members to feel free to ask any question. And for students, the meeting about drugs and alcohol: also in such a meeting, I want the students to feel as safe as possible to ask and say anything.”

What do you hope students and staff will take away?
“It is the first time we are doing something like this. I hope that students and staff will gain more insight, more understanding and hopefully ideas on how they can better supervise students as teachers and feel more confident about doing so. For students to get ideas on how to feel more vital or how to shorten stress periods or have less negative thoughts.”

Where can students and staff go for a personal consultation on mental health?
Students can always come to me, of course. If they want more professional help I can help them with information on how that works, for example on insurance, with a general practitioner or a referral to a specialist. All staff have recently been offered a social worker. You can talk to this person about anything that is bothering you. It is so important that everyone is well looked after, both students and staff. And that we also take good care of each other and help each other out a little. Hopefully, these two theme weeks will help a little in that respect: that if we all know a little bit more about it, we can help each other a little better and support each other.”

How can students and staff attend the lectures?
“Just show up in the House of Transformation at the KABK. Check the flyers and the agenda on the portal. There will also be a live stream for students and staff. In addition, it will be recorded so that we can look back at it later.”

Click here for the schedule of the Mental Health Week for students (only accessible for students and staff of the KABK).

Click here for the schedule of the Mental Health Week for staff (only accessible for students and staff of the KABK).