Labour has called on the government to take urgent action to support the mental health of self-isolating university students and warned that a failure to act could trigger a “crisis for thousands of young people”.
The opposition party is urging the government to work with students, universities and students’ unions to ensure that every young person has the resources they need amid local lockdowns being imposed on UK campuses.
Education Secretary Gavin Williamson acknowledged the negative impact of restrictions on the mental health of students when addressing the House of Commons on Tuesday, but did not unveil any additional support.
Green branded the failure to outline support for students an act of “shocking complacency”, adding that many young people are “now self-isolating with a group of people who are practically strangers”. Labour has called on the government to:
- “Outline an emergency package of measures that will support the mental health of students, particularly those who are self-isolating;
- “Ensure that existing services are genuinely accessible, with signposting of support for all students to be reinforced; and
- “Work with students and students’ unions, as well as universities, accommodation providers and local NHS and mental health partners, to deliver support where it is most needed.”
Responding to reports of students across the country being quarantined in their accommodation, Labour leader Keir Starmer and Shadow Education Secretary Kate Green will hold a Zoom meeting with students on Thursday afternoon.