The coronavirus pandemic has affected student mental health in various ways. Being a student in a pandemic is a new experience and one we are constantly learning and adapting to. This could be coping with a lack of social interaction, sitting in the same place and staring at your laptop, or doing assignments in the same room you have been in all day.
People aged 18-24 reported worse mental health and wellbeing during the lockdown with nearly three quarters (73%) of students saying their mental health declined during the lockdown. This article provides common feelings of how students may be feeling currently and some tips and advice to help you.
Common feelings already as a student:
- Worry about how the virus might impact you, your family and friends now and in the future
- Concern about the lockdown measures and easing of them as it can be a very overwhelming time
- Unsupported by your university and peers, sometimes you don’t feel like you are getting the support that you need
- Sad and angry that you can’t make new friends at your university or see current friends
- Finding it hard to think about when lockdown is eased and how difficult it is going to be to make new friends and engage with other people around you
- It is very overwhelming getting used to the new environments when you have been so used to having a room full of people in lectures, with the feeling of repetitiveness and doing the same thing day in day out
- Stigmatised or unfairly judged by people who have negative views of students
- Feeling pressured to go out and socialise once restrictions are eased because that’s ‘what students do’- we are expected to go out all the time, socialise and have fun but a year of being told this is ‘wrong’ makes this understandably difficult
However, places are starting to re-open and a social life can begin to return. This also comes with its own worries. We have been told for a year that crowds are dangerous and having a social life is wrong, so to be told to go ahead after months of restrictions is a little weird! It is totally understandable if you feel apprehensive about this. I think most people have at least some nerves when it comes to returning to ‘normal life’.
Things to remember.
- Some things may feel strange at first but that is okay. There will be a lot of people feeling this way but it is okay not to feel completely comfortable with the easing of restrictions – you just have to take it at your own pace
- It is important to take baby steps! Gradual exposure to different situations is a good way to control anxieties and worries
- As a cohort of students we have already faced studying in a pandemic and this is an amazing achievement to be proud of
- For many of us, the gradual easing of lockdown will bring longed for opportunities such as seeing friends, playing sports, resuming contact and getting back to the real world of work
- However, for some of us, especially students, after the easing of lockdown, it is going to be difficult to readjust to getting back to reality and it is okay to not feel like how other people may feel
If you need support, please see the contact details of services below:
- University of Lincoln Student Wellbeing – 01522 837080
- Lincolnshire Partnership Foundation Trust – 01522 597979
- Mind – 0300 123 3393
- Samaritans – 116 123
- Text SHOUT – 85258
Written by Beth Carroll, 3rd Year Psychology
A note from the Students Union’s Mental Health Lead, Megan
Hello there, I’m Megan and I am the Mental Health Lead for 20/21. I am part of the Students’ Union Wellbeing Network which is a group of students who represent your thoughts and feelings – it is my job to listen and represent you. Recently, Beth, a Mental Health Champion, contacted me saying that students felt anxious and wary of the lockdown restrictions easing. Between us, we had the idea to write an article to discuss that these feelings are completely normal. The above article is the fantastic work of Beth and I believe this could help and reassure students that feeling apprehensive right now is absolutely okay.