Healthy Brain Approach to Increase students’ well-being

The corona-crisis affects us all. As VU lecturers and study-advisors, but also as parents, we clearly see the psychological impact on our students. Research also shows an increased prevalence of loneliness and depression amongst students. What can you do as a teacher to really reach students? How can you reach out to students in a way that is safe? Can you hand out exercises to your students for which there is scientific evidence of a positive effect on psychological well-being?

Dr. Hylke Vervaeke, lecturer neurobiology at the Beta Faculty, VU [department Center for Neurogenomics and Cognitive Research (CNCR)] and Amsterdam University College (AUC) developed a lecture series ‘Healthy Brain’ with assignments.

The reactions of Hylkes students are (extremely) positive in more than 90% of the cases. They feel ‘seen’ and involved:

  • ‘I also want to point out that the healthy brain assignments are amazing. I think it helped at least some of us improve our mental state and I want to give special thanks for this :)‘
  • ‘Question hours with Hylke and the bonus assignment were also nice to keep in mind the importance of our mental health’
  • ‘I just wanted to thank you for these exercises. It is rare to find someone who asks you once in a while how you are doing, and I think it is really valuable. I can say from my part that I really needed something like this. These times have not been easy, and it is very nice that a teacher actually acknowledges that. So, thank you very much’