Lockdown blues: mental health in halls

Oren Brown on why things might be tougher for students the second time round

Oren Brown
9th November 2020
Image: Wikimedia Commons
Leaving behind the familiarity of home for student accommodation can be daunting even at the best of times. However, when resigned to the same four walls with minimal outside contact, the university accommodation experience can become outright dangerous. This year, it has changed from an important step in a young adult’s life into a genuinely concerning threat to mental wellbeing.

Many of those who applied to student accommodation this year will have not anticipated the current conditions we now face. Some will have assumed that the ongoing pandemic would have run its course by now. Others, like myself, will have applied before COVID-19 had even reared its head in the UK. But here we are, entering a second national lockdown, and the consequences could be dangerous for student mental health.

Social studies found that levels of anxiety and depression were directly linked to lockdown restrictions, with levels falling in June as measures loosened. Additionally, nearly half of young people said that they felt loneliness during this period. These numbers are bad enough, but given that most students returned home, the conditions were arguably more favourable than they are now. Currently, many students are left unable to go home due to the short notice of the new restrictions.

Something else to consider is that the March restrictions came into effect near the end of the last academic year. Meanwhile, freshers were thrown in the deep end at Newcastle this September, arriving to a regional lockdown in the city. Several weeks on, they have been thrown out of the frying pan and into the fire, with nation-wide measures coming into place. Many are living with people they haven’t properly clicked with, or worse, are completely alone.

It's vital for all of us to look out for others in need

A considerable amount will struggle with depression, anxiety and loneliness this month. It is vital for all of us to look out for others in need, especially those in student accommodation. The restrictions pose a challenge to us all, but we can persevere if we have each other's wellbeing in mind. You never know who might appreciate a conversation in these trying times, be it friend, roommate, or neighbour, so keep an eye out.

Featured Image: Wikimedia Commons

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AUTHOR: Oren Brown
English student. @orenajb

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