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Mental ill-health is a bigger threat to university students than Covid | Student health

Students should have been returning to their studies on campus over the next two weeks, but universities have now been told they cannot return to face-to-face teaching until 17 May (Report, 13 April).

I am a widow with three children who worked extremely hard through very difficult circumstances to get to university. While studying for their GCSEs and A-levels, they were also caring for me, as I was having treatment for breast cancer. However, I am now more worried about their mental health than I have ever been.

The vast majority of students have done exactly as they have been asked to do. They have been working from home, with dodgy internet connections, inadequate working areas, no access to libraries, isolated from friends and peers, all while paying around £17,000 (plus 6% interest per year) for a course that is not as advertised and accommodation that they cannot use.

Every other part of society seems to be returning to normal life. Even my elderly parents are now having dinner parties, as “it’s okay, we have been vaccinated”.

Exams are due this month, and waiting until the middle of May will be far too late for many students. The mental health of our students is now a real concern and I worry about how many more young people will be affected before the government allows these people back to fulfil their potential.

Mental ill-health is a greater threat to these young people than Covid ever was, and I am scared for this generation of students. In 10 years’ time, this group will be funding our pensions and they need to have necessary tools so that we can build a successful economy in this country.
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