STRW local: Mental Health and Working from Home

COVID19 - Mental Health and Working from Home

In these difficult times, we would like to help everyone at the Observatory to stay safe and healthy. For this we initiated a Social Support Committee, which is thinking on different ways to stay connected with each other and support those in our community that are in need of assistance. On this webpage, you can find a collection of resources and other information to support you in these difficult times. More information on the Social Support Committee and its members can be found at the end of this page.

Social Experience

Buddy System

We have introduced a 'Buddy system' to help support our fellow Observatory members. If you think that having a buddy with whom to talk to and share experiences might help you improve your current (little-social) situation, please sign up using the following form: We will contact you for a chat to help us find the best buddy for you (we don’t pair you randomly!). To volunteer to be a buddy for someone, please fill out this form:

To support online social interactions within the Observatory, we have an institute-wide Slack workspace. This Observatory Slack workspace is accessible for all members within the Observatory, including scientific and support staff, PostDocs, as well as PhD and Master students. This Slack workspace offers many channels that can be used to discuss science, education as well engage socially with other Observatory members. You can join the Leiden Observatory Slack workspace by clicking on the following URL:

Mental Health

Professional Counseling

It is important to note that for serious problems professional help should be found. First point of contact for finding professional help in the Netherlands is via your GP. If you don’t have a GP and you need help with finding one, you can contact SCIS or Evelijn Gerstel. For Observatory employees, the company doctor from Leiden University is also available to give advice towards recovery, professional help and discuss on how to return back to work. The company doctor can be contacted via an online form: or by telephone: 071 527 8015.

More Information

Leiden University offers several resources to support you during these times. We have listed several websites with more information, helpful tips and programmes to help you improve and maintain your wellbeing in times of Corona below: a good starting point is the Healthy University@Home website, which offers a number of tips and resources on how to stay healthy when working from home.

Students can refer to this website with helpful tips, programmes and more information. For example, Leiden University organises student support groups (more information through , and is connected to the Caring Universities initiative, an initiative aimed at improving the psychological wellbeing of students.

If you have any study-related questions or problems, please book an appointment with the Study Advisor using this online tool.

Employees can refer to this website on mental wellbeing as well as this website on staying healthy while working from home.

Social Support Committee - Members and Contact Information

The Observatory Social Support Committee is here to offer support to those that need it. Note that we work entirely in a confidential way. Please reach out to any of us if you need assistance or if you are suffering in any way that affects your mental or physical wellbeing.

Joe Callingham jcal[at]
Evelijn Gerstel gerstel[at]
Sarah Leslieleslie[at]
Yamila Miguel ymiguel[at]
Wouter Schrier schrier[at]
Frans Snik snik[at]