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Call to combat students’ Coronavirus mental health issues

Coronavirus has had a huge impact on the mental wellbeing of students, with nearly two thirds reporting low self-esteem, a new survey from the National Union of Students (NUS) has found.

Students are also more likely to have experienced feelings of isolation during this period with nearly three-quarters having less contact with their course mates.

LGBT+ students and disabled students are most affected. During the pandemic students are relying more on family members; however, a recent research report highlighted the potentially negative effects of lockdown on some members of the LGBT+ community. Similarly, disabled students are interacting less with their family and friends, suggesting a need for additional support or ways of interaction that could help with keeping them in touch.

The survey took place in July and involved over 4,000 students, building upon the previous research by NUS in April 2020. Coronavirus has increased concerns for students, placing additional stresses on them. 8 out of ten students are worried about the health of their family members and 3 in 4 students are worried about how they will pay their rent.

Students would like to see more access to mental health support and counselling, medical support, financial assistance and wellbeing support from their university or college.

Sara Khan, NUS Vice President (Liberation and Equality), comments:

There can be no doubt that coronavirus has taken its toll on young people, with many experiencing increased isolation, low self-esteem and sleep deprivation.

Financial stress is a major concern for all students, and this has only been heightened by coronavirus. The government must alleviate these concerns, by providing more financial support for students, if we are truly to tackle the mental health crisis.

We really need to make sure students’ unions are properly funded to enable them to meet this increasing demand, so students receive the support so clearly needed.

You can find out more about the survey here.

Photo:  NUS