S.O.S: Support Our Students
The fallout from Covid is affecting us all – from the businessperson watching their business falter, to the elderly grandparent forced to isolate.
There’s few people who avoid the emotional, financial and physical impact altogether.
And yet one particular group is coming in line for huge criticism and moral judgment, while at the same time, potentially being incredibly vulnerable in respect of the mental health consequences.
Sure, we’ve all seen and heard the news content which perpetuates the idea that university students are ignoring social distancing, spreading the virus and being incredibly selfish and negligent.
But is that true of all?
What about those who have stepped into the campus world for the first time this month and genuinely want to conduct themselves responsibly and respectfully, while gaining their next step on a road to a career?
Maybe they’ve already faced the agony and despair around the exam results furore.
Maybe it took great courage and family debate to decide whether the commitment to university would still be worth the £9,000 a year term fees – particularly with most course activity now online.
And maybe, amid all of this, they’re battling an eating disorder!
Can you imagine being in a shared halls facility, hardly knowing those you’re living alongside, trying to contend with the behaviours of your illness in as discreet a way as possible – and all against the backdrop of Covid 19?
This week, we hear that Scottish students are being told they’ll have to stay inside and avoid parties and bars. We’ve also heard that numerous campuses around the UK are entering into a kind of ‘lockdown’, whereby student ‘bubbles’ will be having to isolate, and won’t be allowed to shop for themselves or socialise beyond their own rooms.
On top of this, we’re hearing the escalating rumour that such students might even be told that they’ll be refused the opportunity to return back ‘home’ for the festive period.
Such circumstances would be troubling and traumatic for any young person to contemplate, but for someone with an eating disorder, it could be an unbearable perfect storm.
It’s vital that student welfare teams do their absolute best to think beyond the immediate implications of Covid at this time, and pay due attention to students who may be exhibiting the signs of a devastating mental health illness.
Parents – you too are undoubtedly distressed and confused by the soundbites occurring at this time, and wondering how on earth to best support your child.
Speak up, speak out, and do whatever you feel is right for your child. If you know your child’s eating disorder could wreak havoc if left to fester in this strange campus-lockdown world for the coming months, then have those conversations, and create a plan of action.
Something as severe and impactful as an eating disorder won’t go ‘on mute’ for the months it takes until a vaccine is created and the world returns to normal. If anything, it will potentially plague the mind of a young person even further – particularly if they’re not given the right tools and support to navigate recovery.
To those of you who have found yourself in university, and are now petrified of how you’re going to cope in the weeks and months ahead, please know you don’t have to be alone.
Our befriending and psychological services are here specifically to help you through this coming period.
We’ve got a very interesting concept we’re establishing specifically for campus-based university students, so please let us know your circumstances.
If we can help you in any way, email firstname.lastname@example.org
- Sep 2020