The Studentenwerke of Saxony Propose a Corona Follow-up Care Package for Students
Similar to the situation faced by schoolchildren, students suffer, in some cases massively, from the effects of digital teaching. For the last year and a half, the social and professional exchange has been missing due to the closed universities. This often leads to a significant psychosocial burden, delays in the study process, or even to students dropping out.
The four Studentenwerke of Saxony therefore demand a corona follow-up care package for students providing psychosocial support in a joint statement. Students, and in particular first-year students, who have experienced the start of their studies digitally, are affected by considerable psychological stress. Social interaction, which is essential for studying and formative in this period of one's life, was almost completely absent due to the contact restrictions. Identity crises are not uncommon in this first phase of studies. "This phase is for orientation and is quite normal to find out if the course of studies or even studying in general is a good fit for you. When difficulties arise, the students affected often do not know whether their doubts concerning their studies are the cause for this or whether additional stress due to the pandemic is playing a role. They are missing this crucial phase of orientation," explains Pablo Paolo Kilian, a psychologist at the Psychosocial Counselling Center in the Studentenwerk Leipzig.
In the absence of coping strategies, a crisis quickly manifest into full-blown psychological distress. The serious consequences of the Corona pandemic are now more and more coming to light: increasing feelings of psychological stress, delays in study processes and even students dropping out of their studies. With their psychosocial counselling offers, the Studentenwerke provide a low-threshold, service that is free of charge and helps students to counteract mental illnesses in a preventive manner. Seeking counselling with these services at an early stage helps to reduce stress more easily. Here our qualified staff provides counselling tailored to the special needs of students. Since the Corona pandemic, these counselling centers have experienced an increasing demand, which can no longer be covered by the usual counselling capacities. This has resulted in very long waiting times.
A state support program in the form of a Corona follow-up care package, similar to the " Aktionsprogramm Aufholen nach Corona für Kinder und Jugendliche" (an action program for children and adolescents to catch up after Corona), is urgently needed to ensure the success of studies despite the pandemic. The four Studentenwerke from Saxony point this out in a joint statement. In particular, this package should allow for a pandemic-related, temporary increase in counselling capacities for the psychosocial counselling services. The Studentenwerke in Saxony require state aid amounting to 300,000 euros per year in order to be able to cover the additional demand caused by the pandemic. This is the only way that students severely affected by the pandemic can be adequately supported, negative psychological effects can be reduced, and their academic success can be ensured.