Balance Your Life

How is coronavirus affecting the mental health of students?

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Coronavirus is affecting student mental health in so many different ways. Being a student in a pandemic is a new experience that we’re always finding out more about. Mind’s coronavirus survey results revealed the following:

  • People aged 18–24 reported worse mental health and wellbeing during the 2020 UK lockdown.
  • Nearly three quarters (73%) of students said that their mental health declined during the lockdown.

“I’m a 45-year-old mature student and should be writing my dissertation as it’s my final year. Instead I am frozen with fear, my brain is not working and I’m failing miserably.”

On top of your already stressful student life, you may be experiencing these common thoughts and feelings:

  • Worried about how the virus is impacting you, those around you, your friends and your family.
  • Concerned by lockdown measures having a negative impact on your mental health.
  • Unsupported by your university and peers when you need help and reassurance.
  • Sad or angry that you can’t make new or see current friends at university.
  • Overwhelmed by having to adjust to new working environments, teaching methods and routines.
  • Stressed about the impact on your finances (particularly your fees and loans).
  • Uncertain about your future and job prospects (also worrying about completing your studies).
  • Stigmatised or unfairly judged by people who have seen negative images of students in the media.
  • Disappointed by how the university life you imagined isn’t meeting your expectations.
  • Frustrated by other students breaking rules, or how your university is handling coronavirus outbreaks (campus lockdowns and mandatory isolation, for example).

“I am a student as well as working part time, and my studies have been seriously impacted. I’ve also been placed on the furlough scheme at work which has affected the ability to pay for my course.”

If you’re experiencing any of these feelings, try to remind yourself of the following:

  • There is no ‘normal’ response. Having difficult thoughts about the impact of the virus is understandable, especially after living through it for so long.
  • Feelings can change day-to-day. How you feel right now may be affected by factors out of your control. You might even feel worse before you feel things are improving.
  • This won’t last forever. It may feel hard right now, but this situation is extremely unusual. Remember that this isn’t how life will always be.

You might like to consider the fully supported 40 Day Challenge as a way to help you through the coming weeks. It’s an affordable programme designed to be fully inclusive.