When coronavirus first began to spread in the UK back in March 2020, Student Minds made the decision to pause and listen. We wanted to truly understand what students were experiencing, how the pandemic was affecting them and what we could do to help. We gathered insights from thousands of sources and conducted our own primary research to build as accurate a picture as possible. Almost 18 months later, following continued listening, the launch of Student Space and a shift to online delivery of our peer support and training, in August 2021, we collated and published our findings, reflections and recommendations in ‘University Mental Health: Life in a Pandemic’. The report explores the wide-reaching impacts of Covid-19 on higher education communities, focusing on four themes from Student Minds’ University Mental Health Charter: Live, Learn, Work and Support. By exploring the disruption to each of these themes and taking a holistic approach to student mental health, we were able to develop policy recommendations for universities, students’ unions, and the Government, which we believe will support students as we move beyond the initial impacts of the pandemic.
Higher education, online learning and remote student services have become synonymous since the outbreak of Covid-19 in early 2020. Whilst the initial move to digital was orchestrated as a stop-gap measure to deliver learning and provide support, there is now an acknowledgment across the sector that online learning and remote student services will continue to have a place in higher education. Given recent announcements that some UK institutions will carry on with a blend of in-person and online tuition and support services until the autumn term, the need to support students to develop and maintain healthy digital habits is as pressing now as it was at the beginning of the pandemic.
On 22nd April 2021, Tribal virtually attended a Student Minds led event - Covid-19 and Student Mental Health: Supporting the most impacted groups webinar, with the hope to listen to students’ experiences and learn about new resources available via Student Space. As a Student Space Comms Champion Tribal want to share the content and resources to our audience.
The events of 2020 have rapidly shaped the way the world lives, works, and learns and getting staff and students back on campus safely is the goal for universities everywhere. Never before have any of us faced such a challenge - knowing what to do if there is a positive case and dealing with it promptly and professionally.
Starting university life is challenging at the best of times. From meeting new people, to moving away from home (likely for the first time), and discovering a new way of learning… it’s not unusual for students to feel apprehensive about what lies ahead. Throw Covid-19 into that mix and the new challenge becomes even more overwhelming. With so much uncertainty and lack of clarity on what the future holds, there has never been a more important time for universities to provide a robust student support and welfare service, especially to those first year students who will be joining the university in the near future.