Today is World Mental Health Day. While I was thinking about what to read I kept coming back to the current situations that students across the UK are facing with restrictions and lock down.
I’m one of the first to admit I really struggled in my first year at university. I had recently been formally diagnosed as having Anxiety and Depression (or ‘low mood’ as they like to call it – but that’s another blog) after struggling for years with my mental health.
I’d never lived away from home before and the most I’d been away from my family was for a week and once when I went on holiday without them and spent the entire morning in the airport crying and feeling anxious. Yeah I wasn’t the most adventurous kid or teenager, I liked my own home comforts…some things never change!
Now, I was actually one of the luckier ones. I have a 4 day taster living in halls, I’d been to every visit in the year running up to it because I needed to know everything to calm my anxiety. Even with all that I massively struggled and went home at least once a month, the other weekends I was mostly at my now fiancé’s flat because I struggled to connect with my flatmates. I would have fallen apart in a lockdown.
While they may be 18 these young people are vulnerable. They don’t know the people they’re living with, Halls rooms are normally small and they’re living with the worry and fear of a virus that has lead to a global pandemic. That’s not even touching on the fact it’s a new way of learning and a new course or subject.
When I see people blaming young people or telling them to stop complaining that they’re stuck in halls or that they’re stuck in a house miles away from home I get angry. Here’s the thing – the government told them to go back, get normal life going again! Universities and landlords wanted their rent too, only for classes to be held online. The whole idea that they might not be able to come home for Christmas is inhumane too.
Now, more than any time, we need to be sharing kindness and compassion, particularly for these young people. To the students out there I’m thinking of you, my DMs are open and please be kind for yourself.