Welcome to the Good Feeling House: Home to Peer-to-Peer Youth Mental Healthcare


Thieu Scheys

“Conflixer” student volunteer at the Goed Gevoel Huisje (The Good Feeling House)
🌍 De Prins Secondary School, Diest, Belgium

In 2022, a passionate 17-year-old student, Noor Van Reet, won a grant to construct a small house on her school campus where peers could counsel and support each other about mental health. 

In 2022, a passionate 17-year-old student, Noor Van Reet, won a grant to construct a small house on her school campus where peers could counsel and support each other about mental health. 

Today, the Goed Gevoel Huisje (or “The Good Feeling House”) welcomes students of all ages at the De Prins Secondary School to join their peers for a moment of calm, connection, and creativity throughout the school day. Students are trained as “Conflixers” by mental health professionals from the Flemish School Association (VSK) on how to provide age-appropriate peer support in an inviting and welcoming space. Seventeen-year-old volunteer Thieu Scheys joined the Peer-to-Peer Wellbeing Practices Forum at The Wellbeing Summit Brussels to share with changemakers the youth perspective on mental health and community wellbeing. Here’s his point of view.

What is the Goed Gevoel Huisje ?

The Goed Gevoel Huisje (the “Good Feeling House”) is a wooden house built on the playground of our school where students can come talk about their problems with other students. They can also come to hang out, play board games, and read books. We also plan other activities in the house outside of school. It’s a very cozy and fun place.

How does it work?

People can walk in to hang out or start talking to us, or they can send us a message beforehand about what they may want to talk about. We received training about how to talk to kids about their feelings and how to listen to them. We also give everyone the option to sit in different places at school to talk, because the house is on our playground where everyone can see, and maybe they want to talk in a private space.

How did the Goed Gevoel Huisje start?

It started with a student named Noor. When she was little, she was in the hospital for a while and couldn’t go to school. She realized how hard it was to be alone and have no other students or friends around to talk about her feelings. So she had the idea for the Good Feeling House and won a competition in Europe with the idea, which gave her a budget. Our school agreed to build the house on the playground and the company Wood-You built it based on our designs.

Why do you think the Goed Gevoel Huisje is important for your school?

Some people have good home environments where they can talk about their feelings but some people don’t, so it’s nice for kids to have a place at school where they can talk about their feelings with other students. It can also be really hard for kids to talk to adults about what’s going on because of the age difference. The volunteers are in the fifth year of school and we’re mostly focused on inviting students from the first and second grade to join. It’s easier to talk to someone when they are closer in age to you.

How can kids support each other with their mental health?

I think kids can support each other by listening to someone else, but also saying if they have a problem. If you can give an example, and other people feel that it’s possible to share their feelings, then it becomes something that just becomes so normal to talk about. It becomes an open conversation. In society, I don’t think it’s very normal and it would be really good to get rid of this stigma.

“It is often small things that affect the atmosphere or wellbeing of students at school. The Conflixers are doing something about it!

Conflixers are students who support other students at their own school where necessary. It can take different forms, but one thing is certain:
students will get it done.

The Flemish School Association (VSK) equips students to serve as peer supporters with conversational skills for talking about mental health and resolving conflict. Conflixers also learn about topics like bullying, harassment, mental health first aid, hate speech, bias, and more.

What have you learned since being involved with the Goed Gevoel Huisje?

We all had training about how to talk to each other about our feelings and mental health. It was really interesting because I learned that when we communicate, we often put our perspective on the other person. The main thing we can do to help each other is listen, not look at ourselves, and maybe not offer them a solution — just listen to the other person. It’s also important to take the time to care for ourselves and sometimes say no to other people. Sometimes, saying no to other people and thinking a little bit about yourself will mean that you can give more to other people eventually.

I’ve also learned how fun it is to be involved in a project. It’s very nice to work with other people, do activities, and do nice things for other people.

What is wellbeing to you?

I think wellbeing is feeling good in your skin, having the chance to do what you like, be who you are, and just feel good in general. I think other kids would agree with me that it’s about feeling good and happy in general, without too many bumps on the road.

What do adults not understand about young people’s mental health?

I think most adults are doing a good job helping young people express their feelings. Teachers, for example, do a lot for us. But I think they don’t understand that it can be very hard to go to someone who is a lot older than you. That can be a really big step, so we’re trying to make that step smaller so students will be quicker to act when something is wrong.

What do you need from adults to see the change you want in the world — to make it easier for kids to talk about their mental health?

I think adults need to be more open about how they feel. With kids, they may not want to share how they are feeling. But I think that if they start sharing from a young age, like if they are tired or not having a good day, then it will be easier for the young kids to share the same when they are older.

What advice do you have for other youth who want to do something positive in their community?

Spread the word about your project and just have fun! Make a good impression on the world and hopefully start to make it a better place. There are a lot of different little projects in the world and eventually, the world will become a much better place.

If someone wanted to start a Feeling Good House at their school, what would you tell them?

All schools are different and all people are different so just see what works for you. Do whatever you want and fun!

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