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Weekly Wellbeing Write-up: Student Mental Health In The Second Lockdown

Manjula Simon

We all expected a second lockdown, but that doesn’t mean that we were mentally prepared for it. The first lockdown was incredibly damaging to people’s mental health, but this second lockdown, as we go into winter, will be much harder.

Since COVID-19, mental health has been a huge issue for so many people and unfortunately this has led to an increasing number of suicides, especially for students. University is such a big change to adjust to, let alone during a pandemic, and it is so saddening that the mental health difficulties many students are facing have led to such a high rate of suicides.

One of the devastating examples in the news recently was when a student from Manchester University sadly took his own life, and his father spoke out about how hard it is for students during this time when they’re not given adequate support. There are so many other heart-breaking stories that just emphasise how big of an issue this is for such a large amount of university students.

The lack of daylight has such a huge effect on a person’s mental health so despite it being very cold at the moment it is so important to go outside, get fresh air and daylight

It is so daunting for first years to go into a flat with strangers only to be told you’re locked in, so it’s no wonder students are finding it hard. It doesn’t get much better for students in other years; I am a third year and the idea of completing my dissertation without being able to physically go into the library anytime I want, is honestly quite scary.

For all the students who don’t get on with their housemates, for all the students with pre-existing mental health problems, for all the international students who don’t know when they’ll next see their families and for all the other students who could be struggling for a whole manner of reasons, we need to make sure that throughout this second lockdown we are looking after ourselves.

During the first lockdown it was difficult because we had never experienced anything like this before. But, despite this being our second lockdown, it arguably could be even harder due to us going into the colder months. Many people struggle with Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) during this time of year and being in another lockdown just increases the chances of people suffering from it, or for people who already have it, the chances of it worsening.

Life is strange at the moment and if you’re struggling please talk to someone

The lack of daylight has such a huge effect on a person’s mental health so despite it being very cold at the moment it is so important to go outside, get fresh air and daylight. As students it is very easy to just wake up late and only go out towards the afternoon when it begins to get dark, but as humans we need sunlight and being inside all day staring at a laptop doing work can be so negative for both our physical and mental health.

If the first lockdown has taught us anything it’s that keeping in touch with people, going outside for regular exercise and trying to structure your day are essential in order to maintain good mental health. I know this second lockdown is the last thing any of us students want, but unfortunately it is necessary. However there are lots of different ways for us to cope and help each other.

As we’re still in the middle of a semester during this second lockdown we need to remember to not be too hard on ourselves. Life is strange at the moment and if you’re struggling please talk to someone. Your tutors and all other staff members at university understand if you’re going through a tough time so do not be afraid to ask for help.

There are so many great phone lines or websites to go to if you are feeling bad because I promise you however difficult whatever you’re going through is, there’s always another option so never feel like there is no way out.

Nottingham Nightline – 0115 9514 985

University Mental Health Advisory Service – 0115 7484652

Samaritans – 116 123

University Counselling Service – https://www.nottingham.ac.uk/counselling/student-counselling/student-counselling.aspx

Support and Wellbeing Officers – https://www.nottingham.ac.uk/studentservices/services/support-and-wellbeing-service.aspx

NHS 24hr Helpline in a Crisis – 0808 196 3779

Turning Point Mental Health Helpline – 0300 555 0730

Text SHOUT to 85258

Manjula Simon

Featured image courtesy of Yasmina H via Unsplash. Image license found hereNo changes were made to this image. 

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