Universiteit Leiden

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Pim Rusch

1K Z1E J3 benches at Faculty of Humanities

As part of Leiden University’s aim to be a safe and healthy environment for all staff and students, several activities and lectures were organised in an action week around suicide prevention. Dedicated benches were also placed at several university buildings, including at the Faculty of Humanities.

Benches for a good conversation

The university's action week follows the national IK Z1E J3 (I see you) campaign by the 113 Suicide Prevention Foundation. During the action week, three 1K Z1E J3 benches were placed at buildings of the Faculty of Humanities. These benches can be recognised by a gold-coloured plaque with the text: 'A good conversation starts with really seeing someone'. The benches are a place where you can take some time for each other, to hear how someone is really doing. Dean Mark Rutgers and student assessor Nova Verkerk unveiled the first 1K Z1E J3 bench in the courtyard of the Huizinga building.

'I feel that staff and students can sometimes feel very isolated and don’t have the chance to talk about things that concern them. Suicide is not something that’s easy to talk about,' Rutgers said at the opening. 'I hope the benches will be used by staff and students as a reminder to start the conversation about this important issue. We live in a time where people have a lot of questions about leading a meaningful life. This is a bench, not a chair, so talk to each other and look out for each other.

‘Then also dare to say when you are not doing well.'

Nova Verkerk agrees. 'I hope these benches serve as an impetus to really talk about how things are going, so that we lower the threshold for talking about suicidal thoughts. And don't be afraid to give an open and honest answer about how you are doing when you are not feeling good.'

Besides the bench in the Huizinga's courtyard garden, there are two more benches near the Humanities buildings bearing a plaque. These benches can be found in the courtyard garden of the Reuvens and the garden at de Vrieshof 4.

Mark and Nova on the bench

Other activities

Even after the national action week, the university still has several activities on the programme for staff and students. We are continuously working to make mental health a topic of conversation, and the following activities are planned for the coming period:  

- This autumn, together with the 113 Suicide Prevention Foundation, the university is organising a webinar for student advisers, managers and well-being officers, among others. The webinar will cover how to be of support to others and open the conversation. More information will follow soon.

- Following the campaign, the university is offering a 'Gatekeeper' suicide prevention training for staff and student counsellors. Interested parties can register their interest at secretariaat@sea.leidenuniv.nl

Do you need help yourself?

Are you thinking about suicide or worried about someone else? Talking about suicide helps and can be done anonymously via chat at www.113.nl or by phone 0800-0113. Conversations with 113 are anonymous and confidential.  

Are you in a life-or-death situation? Call 112 immediately.

Want to talk about something else? Then contact the student psychologists, who offer short-term counselling for both study and personal problems. Please note: for a diagnosis or long-term help, contact your GP for a referral.

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