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Student mental health and COVID-19

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Published: 5 March 2021

John Kainesie Lecturer (Postgraduate Nursing)

Dr John Kainesie is a lecturer at the University of Sunderland in London, teaching on the MSc Public Health and MSc Nursing courses.

In this article, he discusses the long-term effects of the lockdown on the mental health of students and what we can look forward to when the campus reopens.

“As the coronavirus pandemic persists around the world, it continues to create a considerable amount of fear, worry and concern.

This is true not only for the world’s population at large but also for students in higher education.

With the lockdown still in place in most countries, many universities are continuing to deliver teaching and support from home.

It’s natural, then, that both national and international students can experience feelings of worry and anxiety about their education, their health or those close to them.

You might be feeling bored, frustrated and lonely, especially if you weren’t expecting to be studying online.

We have worked tirelessly along with other departments in the University to make sure you get the education you deserve and the support you need to succeed during this difficult period.

With that being said though, we are looking forward to the day when we can return to face-to-face teaching.

Campus-based studies allow for the use of all learning styles and enables teachers to recognise the differing educational needs of their students.

Remote learning and being in the same space for work, studies and social life contributes a significant amount of stress and anxiety for students.

On-campus teaching means an increase in social and academic interactions with teachers and fellow students.

You can discuss what you do and do not understand about your classes and help one another which, though possible remotely, has more challenges than face-to-face conversations.

Evidence suggests that the overall psychological impacts of the continuing lockdown can include increased rates of stress, anxiety, social isolation, loneliness, depression and more.

Therefore, the need to promote mental health by higher education institutions for students to cope with day-to-day stressors has become greater than ever before.

This can be achieved using evidence-based comprehensive mental health promotion in the way done by the University of Sunderland in London’s Health and Wellbeing department.

As a student with us, you have access to a range of excellent mental health services like SilvercloudFika and Togetherall, as well as one-to-one confidential help from the team. You can find out more information about these services in the University's COVID-19 FAQs.

Such an approach helps students have supportive relationships with members of staff, family, friends and mentors.

We also encourage our students to engage in physical activities, learn new skills, give to others.

We encourage you to spend time understanding what is going on inside and outside themselves moment by moment (mindfulness).

This will help protect you and promote your emotional and physical well-being.”

Dr John Kainesie teaches on the MSc Public Health and MSc Nursing programme at the University of Sunderland in London. Visit the profile pages to find out more about him.

If you would like to speak with a member of the Health and Wellbeing team confidentially about this or any other issue, you can book a one-to-one appointment.

You can get in touch through Compass, email them at londonhealth@sunderland.ac.uk or call on 0207 531 7343. Find out more by following #WeAreSunLon on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

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