Whether you have an existing mental health problem, or you're starting to find things difficult, the pandemic has put a huge amount of extra strain on students.
This information is for both new and returning university students, studying full- or part-time during coronavirus.
On this page:
Coronavirus is affecting student mental health in so many different ways. Being a student in a pandemic is a new experience that we’re always finding out more about. Mind’s coronavirus survey results revealed the following:
"I’m a 45-year-old mature student and should be writing my dissertation as it’s my final year. Instead I am frozen with fear, my brain is not working and I’m failing miserably."
On top of your already stressful student life, you may be experiencing these common thoughts and feelings:
"I am a student as well as working part time, and my studies have been seriously impacted. I've also been placed on the furlough scheme at work which has affected the ability to pay for my course."
If you're experiencing any of these feelings, try to remind yourself of the following:
"I made it as far as the Students’ Union before I had to be honest with myself. I was not OK. I wanted to go home and crawl into bed."
Tell them how you're feeling. This could be friends from university or from home, your family, doctor or therapist. If you can’t meet people you’d like to see in person, make plans to video chat instead. See our pages on talking to friends and family and talking to your GP for tips on starting conversations.
If you're struggling with your academic work, student finances or mental health, it's ok to ask for help. A good place to start is by speaking to your GP, your university student services team or mental health team if there is one. See our page on student mental health support for ideas of who to ask or where to turn to.
Peer support brings people together who've had similar experiences, in order to support each other. You can take part anonymously. Student Minds has a student-specific peer support service. Mind runs a service for over 18s called Side by Side and Togetherall runs a 24/7 online community for anyone over 16.
Keeping informed of current events might feel important. You may be following coronavirus news or updates relating to your studies. But if you’re struggling with your mental health, you may want to take a break from worrying stories.
"I think I watch the news too much, mostly I'm just looking for some hope, but every time I see it, it makes me feel so much worse."
Social media can help you stay in touch with people, but can also make you feel anxious or upset. This might happen if you see negative content about universities, students or factors affecting your studies. Consider taking a break or limiting how you use social media. For more information see our page on online mental health.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed with the situation right now, it might feel hard to think about looking after yourself. But taking steps to look after your physical health can help make a difference in how you feel. It might help to visit our pages on physical activity, food and mood, sleep and recreational drugs and alcohol.
If you’re struggling at the moment, it’s important to be gentle with yourself. There is no right or wrong way to feel about coronavirus and how it may be affecting your life. Try to remind yourself of this regularly.
"I learnt that the source of my anxiety was a fear of failure. I'd definitely recommend making a note of where and how to access your university's counselling services."
You can find advice for coping with difficult feelings, emotions and experiences in our A-Z of mental health. You may find these pages especially helpful:
Student Space has guidance and articles on:
Understanding your mental health support options as a student can be very difficult. Whether you have an existing problem or you're beginning to find things harder to manage, knowing how and where to get support isn't easy.
As support can vary in quality and ease-of-access, it’s good to consider a variety of sources. You might want to seek support from:
Contact student support and welfare services, your student union, counsellors, clubs/societies and tutors. Read more about getting support from your place of study, but bear in mind that some services might need to be held online during coronavirus.
If possible, try to assess your options when you feel that things are going well. You might find it easier to know where to get help if you start having difficulty coping.
This information was published on 19 November 2020.
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The coronavirus pandemic is having a huge impact on our mental health. Help us be there for everyone who needs us at this crucial time.