Many students are struggling to maintain a positive self-image due to the continuing lockdowns and limited interaction with others. This was enhanced after the announcement of a third lockdown on 4th January by Boris Johnson who stated, ‘”You may only leave home to shop, work if you cannot work from home, exercise, seek medical assistance, and escape domestic abuse.”
With the influx of covid cases and many needing to self-isolate, it’s no surprise that the confinement of students has led to deep reflection and thought about their careers, prospects and appearance. Although many support services are offered by universities to provide encouragement and help, many students feel reluctant to make that call due to the risk of the current situation escalating.
Julia Gregson, a final year student at the University of Sheffield stated, ‘I loved taking selfies and posting every day, now I feel rather limited in what to post which upsets me, but I still enjoy capturing every moment while I can.’ Another student added, ‘I didn’t know I had mental issues until now. With the gyms and fitness centres being closed, I feel low in self-esteem and struggle to view myself in a positive way.’
According to Rethink Mental Illness, a survey found that almost 80% of people said that their mental health had gotten worse or much worse as a result of the pandemic and the measures to contain it. Similarly, a survey conducted by the mental health charity Young Minds also recorded that 80% of their respondents noted their mental health had declined during the pandemic.
According to Sheffield Mental Health charity Time to Talk, figures are reflecting a 30% increase in depression, anxiety and negative thoughts on self image within young adults. Although this is likely to change within the coming months, there is a certainly a call for help amongst students who are severely struggling with their mental health during this time. Aside from serving as an listening ear to those in need of help, we should fill and consume our time with activities which lift our level of positive thinking and wellbeing. It is important that we show ourselves love and affection before endeavouring to help others.