At Student Minds, we understand that this year has been incredibly difficult for students and for everybody in our university communities. Many people are tackling a combination of social isolation,uncertainty, difficulties associated with remote learning and concerns about the future without access to their usual support networks. To help these students, it is crucial we continue to join together to support students now during the pandemic and beyond.
This is why we are excited that today marks University Mental Health Day. Today we bring the university community together to make mental health a sector-wide priority and create ongoing change to the future of student mental health.
This year is slightly different from usual. We can’t come together physically on our campuses, however we have been blown away, as we have been all year of the innovation, resilience and passion of people working together virtually.
We all have a role to play on University Mental Health Day, and all year round, to create the change we need to see.
Be kind to yourselves
We want to remind students that it is okay to find things difficult from time to time, or to feel angry or frustrated or lost. This year has been hard with lots of uncertainty, university life has not looked like what you thought it would.
We also want you to know that support is out there. Student Space, developed by our team at Student Minds, is a dedicated support programme to help students through the pandemic. Student Space offers direct support via telephone and text, online resources such as articles and webinars, and a directory of university support services to help students access support that is right for them. Student Space is free and confidential.
To start a conversation text ‘STUDENT’ to 85258. We are here to listen and support you, whatever you are going through please reach out.
More financial support for students
We know that the pandemic has had a negative financial impact on many students, whether they’re paying rent for accommodation they cannot use, or they’ve lost their job, or they’ve had to invest in technology to successfully engage with online learning. This is no small sum - the 2021 National Student Accommodation Survey found that students in the United Kingdom had wasted almost £1bn on accommodation they were not allowed to access due to lockdown restrictions. We’re pleased that the government is taking a first step providing material support to students most in financial distress. However, while the means-tested fund of £50m announced earlier this year is a start, it’s not nearly enough to make a noticeable difference for the majority of students.
Today, we are calling for the government to provide a more comprehensive package of financial support available to all students in higher education.
Planning for a Sustainable Future
The response of many hardworking university staff to the coronavirus pandemic has been nothing short of extraordinary. As higher education institutions prepare for the possibility of a post-pandemic life, it is vital that the wellbeing of staff and students remains at the heart of all decision making. Student Minds has crafted guidance to support institutions through this process. Download our “Planning for a Sustainable Future: the importance of university mental health in uncertain times” for more information.
Only by protecting our mental health will we shape a sustainable future in which everyone in higher education can thrive.
Thank you for joining us today. We are proud to work with so many incredible people. Although we can’t be together physically, we will come together virtually to inspire conversations, take action and create change. Now more than ever it's important to get the nation talking about student mental health!
Find out more about University Mental Health Day: www.unimentalhealthday.co.uk