To tell or not to tell about your mental health problems? An intervention for students.

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Worldwide, an increasing number of students in higher education have mental health problems. Talking about these problems at the university is often not that easy. Students fear to be stigmatised if they disclose their problems to others. However, if they do not disclose their problems, they may not get the support they often need. Existing interventions to help people with this disclosure-dilemma are not specifically aimed at students, and lack certain important aspects. Therefore, we developed an intervention to help students with making a personal, well-informed decision regarding whether or not to disclose their problems. We examined the experiences of students and professionals with the new intervention. Moreover, we studied whether the students were less concerned about disclosure and experienced less decisional conflicts after using the intervention. Students with mental health problems from three universities of applied sciences in the Netherlands completed questionnaires prior to the intervention, directly after and three months after. In addition, the educational professionals reported their experiences with applying the intervention. Both students and professionals appreciated the contents and structure of the intervention and students’ level of concern about disclosure and level of decisional conflicts were lower after using the intervention.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)987-998
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Further and Higher Education
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 12 Jan 2021


  • students
  • mental health


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