The press release of the Lithuanian Students’ Union (LSS) states that this document is intended to encourage cooperation between higher education institutions in order to ensure the availability of psychological services and prevention measures. It was signed by LSS, Vilnius University Student Representation (VU SA), Lithuanian College Directors Conference (LKDK) and Lithuanian University Rectors’ Conference (LURK).
The signing of the agreement was initiated by the students
The signing of the agreement was initiated by the Lithuanian Students ‘Union (LSS), when research on the psychological condition of students revealed the problems of students’ mental health and access to psychological assistance in higher education institutions.
“When LSS conducted the first survey a few years ago, 64 percent. respondents indicated that they would like psychological help to be available in higher education, but at that time even 15 high school graduates were not able to provide qualified psychological help due to the lack of working psychologists, and psychologists working in some psychological counseling centers acknowledged that some were unable to meet the existing need for psychological counseling and emotional support.
Students had to wait up to 3 months to receive help, and due to such a great need for psychological counseling in higher education institutions, specialists working there devoted all their working time only to counseling, therefore it was not possible to carry out preventive activities aimed at strengthening students’ mental health. ” , – the situation is reminded by VSS President Vytautas Kučinskas.
The situation was exacerbated by quarantine
According to V.Kučinskas, although the availability of psychological assistance in higher education institutions was increased, the situation was worsened in all aspects of the situation by the quarantine announced in the country, therefore it was and is necessary to take additional actions and ensure mutual cooperation.
“In order to assess the change in recent years, LSS repeated a survey at the beginning of the year, which revealed that compared to 2017. According to the data, the situation has worsened – the number of people experiencing negative states has increased, – says V. Kučinskas. – For example, around 80% said they had experienced great anxiety, fear or severe stress in recent years. depression or eating disorders accounted for almost half and a third said they had experienced panic attacks. “
Prevention is important
According to the initiator of the agreement, people in difficulty need timely professional help, but it is no less important to train the community to recognize the first signs of problems.
“The agreement envisages carrying out information campaigns, developing preventive services and including the development of psychological literacy competencies in the study content. I believe that these measures are no less important in order to solve or even prevent mental health problems, ”says the President of the VMS about the importance of prevention.
In order to implement the agreement, LSS, VU SA, LURK and LKDK agreed to create and foster a positive emotional climate, reduce stigma in relation to mental health and strengthen students’ psychological resilience and increase access to psychological support for students.