Students mental Health

Room self-isolation with flatmates they barely know halls of residences emptying out over lockdown to struggles to get the wifi to work for Zoom lectures, the start to the 2020 term has been riddled with uncertainty for most university students. Just one thing’s for sure: it’s been a strange year.

It’s perhaps unsurprising that students across campuses have been grappling with loneliness, anxiety, and depression as a result of their experiences.

“Students aren’t just disappointed that their university experience looks different in terms of teaching and learning, they’re also asking: ‘What does it mean for all the other things I wanted out of uni life? The people I could have met? The sports and societies I could have joined?’” said Hillary Gyebi-Ababio, vice-president for higher education at the National Union of Students.

Mental health is a critical part of students’ overall health and well-being.

Students today face a range of demands that can impact their mental health. From meeting high academic expectations to navigating the world of social media to maintaining relationships with their peers, and parents being so far away from home. students often have busy schedules that result in a lack of sleep and self-care. Many students are also dealing with distress, crises, and trauma in addition to typical life stressors. Mental health challenges can negatively impact all areas of functioning in students, contributing to social, emotional, behavioral, and academic problems.





Students returning home

The government is committed to ensuring that students that have been living away from home are able to return home at the end of term, if they choose to do so. HE providers should support students to ensure that this is possible, following the period of national restriction, whilst mitigating the risk of transmission of the virus. It is essential that measures are put in place to ensure this can happen as safely as possible for students, staff and the communities that they return to.


Your students must follow the rules on movement and self-isolation after a test.

If a student tests positive for coronavirus (COVID-19) they are required by law to self-isolate for a period of 10 days.

If a student has been identified as a close contact of someone who has tested positive but can access testing via the mass testing programme, they should seek a test. If they test negative, they must still self-isolate for 10 days from the day after contact with the individual who tested positive, but this can be done at home if they wish to do so, taking into account the risk of transmission to their family. Students should only use public transport if they have no other option. They should strictly follow safer travel guidance for passengers. Where mass testing is not available, students must self-isolate in their current accommodation and not return home.

If a student tests negative and is not a close contact of someone who has tested positive, they can travel home by any mode of transport and do not have to undertake any further periods of self-isolation. If, after travel, they subsequently develop symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19), or are alerted by NHS Test and Trace that they are a close contact of a case, they should immediately self-isolate at their new location and get tested.

Students who are unable to self-isolate safely and practically at home, whilst continuing their studies, should be supported to do so at university (see the section on specific support for students).

The LFD tests we are deploying have a high specificity which means there is a very low chance of false positive test results occurring. The test does not detect all positive cases, however, and works best in cases with higher viral loads – those who are most infectious. As the test is easy to administer and does not require a laboratory, repeat tests can be carried out. The benefit will be the ability to detect a significant number of people without symptoms who are infectious who will then be asked to self-isolate thereby reducing the transmission of the virus.

LFD tests will not be available in all locations. If you cannot provide LFD testing, you should inform them of the broader guidance in this document and they should return home, either:

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It is against the law to leave your home to travel unless for work or other legally permitted reasons.

Where you need to travel, walk or cycle if you can. This will reduce pressure on public transport and the road network.

You should stay 2 metres apart from people you do not live with where possible, or 1 metre with extra precautions in place (such as wearing face coverings).

Your local council can help you plan your journey by providing maps showing dedicated paths and routes.

You must observe social contact rules while walking or cycling in England.

Where possible, keep a suitable distance from other people. For example, when waiting at crossings and traffic lights. Take precautions where this is not possible.

Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds or sanitise your hands before and after cycling.

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