On September 27th Prof. Yu Sakagami, Associate Professor and Director of the Health Service at the Kyoto University, visited Heidelberg and engaged in a meeting with Prof. Holm-Hadulla, Director of the PBS (Psychological Counsel Center for Students). In this meeting they discussed and exchanged experience and research on mental health counselling for (exchange) students.
The PBS is an independent institution run by the Heidelberg Studierendenwerk (Student Service). It is financed by a fee students have to pay each semester for different services. The counselling for students is free of charge and highly confidential. Each year about 800 students go to the PBS with problems of daily life (loneliness, low self-esteem, partnership problems) as well as mental health issues like depression. The service is also available for foreign students (about 20 percent of the PBS visitors) and provided mainly in English.
Prof. Holm-Hadulla gave some insight into the history of Psychological Studies at Heidelberg University. He even gave a little tour around Bergheim Campus in Heidelberg where most of the research facilities for Psychiatry and Psychology are situated and where famous researchers like Karl Jaspers wrote groundbreaking books in the field.
Prof. Sakagami was appreciated by Prof. Holm-Hadulla because of her suggestions for pre-exchange programs in order to cope with mental health problems that might occur while studying abroad. Her in-depth studies of psychological problems of exchange students in Japan was praised as well.
In the discussion it became clear that students everywhere face the same problems and only slight differences between students from different cultural backgrounds exist. This means that exchange students both in Heidelberg and Kyoto are able to get proper and efficient counselling in case of problems and mental health issues.