By: Sofia Tamburello

The Mission

The online platform “Frisse Gedachtes” is a Dutch psychological assistance provider. This service seeks to help (both international and Dutch) university students with dealing with some of the most common struggles they can encounter when attending university, among which loneliness (Frisse Gedachtes 2021). Its philosophy is based on three core features: choice, trained, anonymous.

The students looking for help are free to choose the university student buddy they prefer to have contact with according to the academic background, location and spoken language (Frisse Gedachtes 2021). The partnership with the buddy can be long-term or changed according to necessity. Secondly, all the buddies are psychology students trained in active listening. Their training also involves the Kapstok model (how to engage in a sensitive conversation), whom to refer to in case of sexual assault or urgent matters and the 113 course about suicide prevention. Lastly, but definitely not least, the anonymity of the struggler is always respected: No additional information needs to be provided (Frisse Gedachtes 2021). This enables the student seeking help to not be judged by external individuals.       

The aim of the platform is to integrate Dutch and international students into the grander university environment through their services. These include: the anonymous chat, a walk with a randomly linked fellow student and events opening discussion about students’ wellbeing for example (Frisse Gedachtes 2021). The platform thus focuses on having help being asked and provided between two university students. Thanks to this, the help provider better relates with the student’s daily struggles discussed. The position for becoming a buddy is open to any psychology university student and it is not retributed. Moreover, any university student can make requests for help without any cost.

The Organization

This organization is built around four different boards: the Leiden board, the Eindhoven board, the Amsterdam board and the Wageningen Board (Frisse Gedachtes 2021). The project was initiated by student movement and seeks to improve the well-being of its student peers. 

The mechanics behind this platform are that university students can contact psychology university students, and experts, who offer a listening ear and practical tips. The buddy will respond to your request by asking you about your struggle through this anonymous chat (Frisse Gedachtes 2021). Moreover, issues considered too complex for a mere listening ear are referred to a student psychologist who can then provide therapy.

Frisse Gedachtes has several partnerships. Their partnership with Boertien Vergouwen Overduin, top agency in the field of training in the Netherlands, allows them to acquire training programs in leadership and personal effectiveness. Erasmus Student Network (ESN) Nijmegen, a student organization for internationally minded students of Radboud University and HAN in Nijmegen, is also an additional resource (Frisse Gedachtes 2021). In addition, the platform of this project was designed by OC Digitals, experts in their field. Lastly, the organization cooperates with Caredate, an officially recognized health care institution in Basic Mental Healthcare, due to them sharing principles of having your own personal listener and no waiting times (Frisse Gedachtes 2021). 

How We Work

The project builds around two main figures the buddy and the struggler. The struggler starts the interaction by making an anonymous profile on the platform, describing the issue and selecting the buddy that will handle his concerns. After the buddy responds he will put the struggler at ease with questions about the general description of the client, its interests, studies. Normally, questions about the reason for relying on the platform, the origin of the issue and its consequences on everyday life follow. Consequently, the buddy understands the scope of the issue and provides tips to deal with it. Key tools for the buddies’ work are expressions such as “It is okay that you feel this way”, “I understand”, because they avoid making the struggler feel judged.

Our Greatest Accomplishments

This project is responsible for achieving great results. The platform secures anonymity and seeks to increase the mental health of both international and Dutch students through the help of peers (Frisse Gedachtes 2021). In addition, occasions of socialization through walks are provided to nurture new friendships. These great achievements are reflected in it becoming part of the biggest student association in Europe, ESN, in 2018 (Frisse Gedachtes 2021). Lastly, some additional achievements can be grasped from the interview of one of the buddies. The features of this program enable the clients to feel relieved, listened without being judged, free to talk openly.

Our Biggest Challenges

“Frisse Gedachtes” has been struggling, especially since COVID-19, to deal with the increasing cases of loneliness among students they registered. Due to lockdowns and online teaching, both Dutch and international students found themselves perceiving loneliness regarding both the quantity and the quality of their friendships. In line with this, the urgency of helping students overcome this feeling and avoiding disastrous consequences, such as sadness, depression and anxiety, increased at an incredible rate. The focus of the buddies’ support is to provide tips enabling the clients to focus on the positive aspects of online teaching and their daily routines.


Frisse Gedachtes (2021). “Frisse Gedachtes.“ Frisse Gedachtes. At

Frisse Gedachtes

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