Every alum remembers this – the nervous excitement of coming to LSE, a new country, maybe a new city – London! – with new living arrangements. Managing your own expectations, your family’s, and of those around you. Feeling, perhaps, that someone else always seemed ‘better’, or ‘smarter’, than you were.
With campus now closed, current LSE students are dealing with these issues, as well as keeping up with unprecedented online learning and assessment protocols, and staying connected in a rapidly evolving environment, sometimes thousands of miles from LSE.
Anxiety and depression, two common mental health issues LSE students grapple with, says LSE’s Student Wellbeing service, can ensue.
What’s striking at the moment is the number of students currently seeking support.
“Student Wellbeing runs a number of programmes, including a Student Counselling Service, Disability and Wellbeing Service, and a Peer Support Scheme,” said Adam Sandelson, Head of Student Wellbeing.
“But we have never – in my 18 years at LSE – seen challenges like this before. For students, these last few months have been a perfect storm of high academic stakes, high-level functioning in an atypical environment and keeping up appearances, while being isolated from friends and having to cope with a hugely uncertain environment.”
“I’m glad that students are coming forward, because it suggests greater awareness and, hopefully, less stigma attached to seeking help. We’ve worked to shift our entire student-facing operation online.”
“We also have to be mindful of the students who don’t seek assistance for social or cultural reasons – including many male and international students – and think about how best to let them know that we can be of help if they need us.”
To help meet demand, Student Wellbeing has rolled out one-to-one online support for students with any psychological, mental health and disability-related difficulties. Students complete an online registration form, and indicate their preference and availability for more than 100 weekly slots available. The service also put together an innovative series of online workshops for students and staff through the first LSE Mental Health Awareness Week, from 18 to 22 May 2020.
Student Wellbeing is a key component of LSE’s Student Mental Health and Wellbeing Framework (SHWF), which launched in March this year.
Adam hopes the new Student Wellbeing Fund, which will enable LSE alumni, friends and supporters to contribute to Student Wellbeing, will enhance their programmes.
“We’re grateful for the support from alumni and friends, who are likely to have been through many of the issues our students today are facing,” he said.
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If you are an LSE student seeking help, please contact Student Counselling at firstname.lastname@example.org