On Monday, the government announced its long-awaited package of measures to see the higher education sector through the Covid-19 pandemic. Student Minds are pleased to see that the government is taking action, but note that the concerns and input of the sector must be incorporated into any policy interventions designed to support the sector.
At Student Minds, we are hopeful that the government will provide further support for the over 2.5 million higher education students and staff who are key to the national response to the pandemic, but are also highly exposed to its impact. The pandemic has brought great uncertainty and precarity, which has the potential to greatly impact the wellbeing of our university communities and the long-term sustainability of the sector. In addition to this, the ongoing challenges to staff and student mental health continue and may intensify.
Universities are critical in our response to Covid-19. They are centres of research and innovation, they train and support frontline workers across a variety of sectors, and are anchor institutions in their local economies. Damage to our university communities will be felt across the country, and now more than ever their contribution to society is evident.
Student Minds CEO, Rosie Tressler OBE, said: “Students and staff from across the higher education sector have blown us away with their commitment, hard work and bravery at the frontlines of this pandemic. However, we recognise the immense pressure that they are under right now.
“If we do not act, we could see the ripples of this pandemic for years to come in the mental health of our students, graduates, and staff. That’s why we continue to add our voice to a network of organisations asking the government to provide dedicated and additional help to support the wellbeing of university students across the country”.
Collaboration is key now more than ever and we will continue to work in partnership with government departments and stakeholders across the sector. Student Minds will strive for effective support which protects and improves the mental health of everyone in higher education.
Today is #GivingTuesdayNow - an opportunity to celebrate the outpouring of compassion that people worldwide have shown to those near and far during this disconcerting time, which has affected every one of us in some way. According to Kathy Calvin, former CEO of the UN Foundation, ‘Giving is not just about making a donation. It is about making a difference.’
On this day, we’d like to say thank you to all of you who have made a difference by supporting Student Minds. Thank you to those of you who have pushed yourselves by taking on an inventive fundraising challenge, from doing 26 continuous forward rolls to completing 260 push-ups. Thank you to those of you who have made a donation and accompanied it with a kind and motivating message. Thank you to those of you who have shared our fundraising appeals, and championed our work.
Thank you to each and every one of you for giving us inspiration and hope.
For many students, the past couple of months have been tough. We’ve heard from students who are feeling isolated. International students who have lost their sense of belonging. Students that have lost jobs that were a vital source of income. Students who have lost their networks of support. Students who no longer have a safe space to study. Students whose loved ones have become seriously ill. Health and social care students who have been propelled onto the frontline with little time to prepare. Students who have been denied the opportunity to say goodbye to their communities and celebrate their achievements as they move on to the next phase of their lives. Students who still don’t know what the future of their university experience will hold.
By trusting Student Minds to use your donations wisely, you’ve enabled us to keep our work going and make sure the mental wellbeing of the 2.4 million students and 440,000 higher education staff across the UK does not get forgotten. We do not take this responsibility lightly. We’ve been listening to students' needs, creating online resources, and supporting institutions as they respond to this ever-changing situation. We’ve also been supporting students to share their experiences on the Student Minds Blog.
We couldn’t have done it without you.
And though times may be hard, with your ongoing support we will continue to be there for students and staff through whatever the months ahead may bring.