Some groups of students may be particularly exposed to mental health and wellbeing problems during this period, both during the coronavirus pandemic and beyond. These groups include:
Black and minority ethnic students: Early research indicates that minority ethnic groups are at greater risk from coronavirus and its impact and there have been reports of race-based hate incidents which are linked to coronavirus.
Care experienced students and students estranged from their families: These students may have less support than their peers and face greater financial difficulties. They are also more likely to be in student accommodation, with no alternative options, and face uncertainty about accommodation over the summer months.
Carers (longstanding, and those with caring responsibilities during the pandemic): Students may have taken on additional caring responsibilities for family members or friends – for example, those who are self-isolating because of existing health conditions or possible exposure to the virus. Students with children are likely to have less time to study as a result of school and nursery closures and reduced childcare support from family and friends.
Disabled students: Some disabled students may have to self-isolate for the duration of the pandemic and may struggle to meet their medical or everyday needs. Those with existing mental health conditions may find their conditions exacerbated by the pandemic.
Some students may not have previously declared their disability, including mental health conditions, but may now be experiencing barriers specific to their impairment(s) and coronavirus.
International students: Some international students may have intended or want still to return to their home countries, but have been prevented by borders being closed or a lack of flights. Whether they have remained in the UK or have returned to their home country, they may experience heightened isolation, financial difficulties and worry about the safety and health of their family and friends. Some may also be more likely to experience race-based hate incidents during the pandemic.
Students experiencing domestic violence and abuse: The domestic violence support charity Refuge has seen an increase of 25 per cent in calls and contacts to its helpline since the UK entered lockdown measures.
It may be difficult for these students to access a safe study space; those who are self-isolating may struggle to access support or escape abuse.