Statement: The constant exception period threatens to break students’ mental health

According to a survey conducted in collaboration between Student Union Helga and SAMOK, as many as 60.1% of bachelor’s students have experienced some or very much deterioration in their endurance and mental health during exceptional circumstances. Many students feel able to endure through exceptional circumstances, but for too many, loneliness, isolation, and the anxiety of the situation have already been too much, and methods of coping can no longer be found. Too many respondents even bring up suicidal thoughts.

“The results are alarming. Students have persevered for over a year, and students ’worries should not be ignored. We need measures that take into account the long-term effects of declining resilience, such as a drop in grades and a slowdown in study progress.
It is not possible to put people who are already on the verge of burning out into the working life”, Minna Huurrekorpi, Chairperson of the Board, says.

The results of the survey show that the situation of students is even worse than previously thought. In addition to deteriorating mental health, most students experience more loneliness than before and a decrease of motivation. Students need support for their studies, exchange of affiliations in addition to their studies, but also more mental health support services.

“Universities of Applied Sciences cannot be successful if the students are not well. Universities must be provided with resources for the implementation of wider welfare services so that students are familiar with the services and have the opportunity to access them”, Huurrekorpi concludes.

The results of the survey show that the end of exceptional circumstances is not enough to meet the challenges of mental health. Students will certainly need support and help long after the pandemic. SAMOK and the student unions are demanding immediate action to respond to students’ call for help.

In April, Student Union Helga and SAMOK surveyed students about their experiences of the pandemic period. Nationwide, 7,341 students from 19 different Universities of Applied Sciences responded to the survey.

More information:
Nelli Pihlasviita
Specialist, advocacy and influencing
040 847 9350
nelli.pihlasviita@helga.fi

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