As the mental health crisis among students continues to grow severe, educational institutions have slowly started incorporating stress management therapy.
The Radboud University in Nijmegen, the Netherlands too offers counselling, however, the university has a bizarre solution to helping students cope with their anxieties.
At Radboud, students can lie in an open grave for hours so they can reflect on life.
All about the 'purification grave' or 'catharsis grave'
The innovative grave is called the louteringsgraf, which translates to "purification grave" or "catharsis grave." It is sponsored by the student chaplaincy.
According to the university's website, the purification grave is a modern form of memento mori (Latin for remember you will die), where "you could lay in it to reflect on your life and to reflect on what is really important to you."
Students can lie in grave for upto 3 hours
According to Vice, the purification grave is open to students from Radboud and the neighboring HAN University of Applied Science.
Radboud's website states, "If you want to lay in the grave, email us!" Students can lie in the grave for 30 minutes to three hours.
To keep distractions at bay, phones and books are banned inside the grave.
Purification grave temporarily installed at Radboud in 2009
Notably, the grave was first installed at the university in 2009 and was functional till 2011, following which, it was filled up with dirt.
During that time, only 39 people had chosen to lie in the grave.
Radboud University also has nap pods and standard counseling services for its 22,000 students, along with a "crying room" that's exclusive to the finals season.
In June, university installed purification grave again
However, the grave was brought back in June after receiving requests from students. According to student church secretary Ilse Hubers, a few people use the grave each week. Hubers added that while some find "complete rest" others are "triggered" by the experience.
'It's an invitation to make something of your life'
John Hacking, a student church chaplain, dug the grave in 2009.
Hacking told Vice, "People don't talk about death anymore. So, I asked myself, 'How can I give the old idea of memento mori a new coat?'"
He added, "Pretending to be dead, wanting to be dead- that's not the intention of the grave at all. It's only an invitation to make something of your life."
Purification grave could help students overcome fear of death: Psychologist
Speaking to Vice, clinical psychologist Paul Wink said students may overcome their fear of death, or cope with the death of others, with the help of the purification grave.
Calling it "exposure therapy," Wink said, "What psychologists have found time and time again is that if you remain in the situation instead of getting out of it, anxiety eventually plateaus and then comes down."