The student pressure pot: it's time to help your students

When students have positive mental health, they're more likely to stay in education, succeed and enjoy the experience. Yet over a third of UK students have experienced a negative change in their mental wellbeing after starting their higher education journey.

The COVID-19 pandemic, financial uncertainty and the move to home-study have all brought about a unique set of pressures for today’s students.

In March, the entire world moved to home-work and study, with Zoom lectures and online learning quickly becoming the norm. Now that Universities have reopened, it’s easy to forget what a huge challenge this was for some students who get so much value from those face-to-face interactions and learning environments, and who had much of their access to support taken away. There are calls for students to be allowed to transition back to home-study if they wish, safely and with complete support in place.

There are also those who are currently living in student accommodation who are facing uncertainty about financial arrangements[2] covering lockdown, university closures and illness. These concerns are being shared by students up and down the country, who may have hoped for flexibility but be dealing with a very different reality. The obligations of tenants varies greatly, and navigating the information is putting a huge mental strain on some. 

Further problems with student accommodation include entire accommodation blocks being told to isolate for two weeks[3], with some claiming there was almost no notice. The impact of this sudden period of isolation could mean students are dealing with all of their worries and problems alone, without their usual support network of friends and family.

If that’s not enough, with detected infection rates amongst 20-29 year olds on the rise[4], plus many students knowing friends or family who’ve contracted COVID-19, the fear of the virus itself will most certainly be increasing anxiety for many.

We understand that looking after your students is the most important job you have to do. Negative mental health can have devastating effects, including students feeling unable to cope with University life, high course dropout rates and, in the worst cases, suicidal thoughts and actions.

To date, Culture Shift has empowered more than a third of UK universities to use technology to create and maintain a positive culture. Given everything students are going through right now, making support easy to access and providing a discreet way for them to disclose their wellbeing concerns could help universities to avoid a mental health crisis before it's too late.

If you want to help your students at this challenging time, contact us to discover how Culture Shift can help.

Resources:

1 - Ranstad, Student Mental Health Report 2020

2 - The Guardian, Student Accommodation article

3 - BBC, Covid Outbreak article

4 -  BBC, Coronavirus article

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