Bath Chronicle

‘Never be afraid to reach out for some sup­port’

- Mental Health · Social Interaction · Society · Lifestyle · Health Conditions · College · Higher Education · Bath · Sweden · University of Bath · Bath · City of Bath College

A men­tal health char­ity has en­cour­aged young peo­ple to talk about what they are feel­ing fol­low­ing the dis­ap­pear­ance of two Univer­sity of Bath stu­dents.

Bod­ies be­lieved to be those of Alec Uns­gaard and Martin Bow­ers, both of whom were stu­dents at the univer­sity and had been re­ported miss­ing, have been found by po­lice.

Alec, a first-year stu­dent from Swe­den, was re­ported miss­ing af­ter be­ing last seen on cam­pus on Septem­ber 18, while Martin, a thirdyear from Stafford­shire, had not been seen since lunchtime the fol­low­ing day.

In light of th­ese in­ci­dents, young peo­ple have been en­cour­aged by a men­tal health char­ity to talk about their feel­ings to help them cope with what is a very dif­fi­cult time dur­ing on­go­ing Covid-19 re­stric­tions.

Bath Mind has said it was “deeply sad­dened” by the sit­u­a­tion and pledged its sup­port to all in the univer­sity com­mu­nity and be­yond.

The state­ment from Kate Mor­ton, the CEO of Bath Mind, said that the Covid-19 pan­demic has caused a “very chal­leng­ing and un­cer­tain time” for many peo­ple and en­cour­aged young peo­ple not to hide their emo­tions away.

She also said that re­cent months have been “ex­cep­tion­ally hard on young peo­ple” and en­cour­aged them to both check in on their friends and loved ones but also to not be afraid to talk about them­selves.

Ms Mor­ton’s state­ment said: “Bath Mind are deeply sad­dened by the loss of two young lives from our univer­sity com­mu­nity. We of­fer sup­port to all in our com­mu­nity, and work closely with the Univer­sity of Bath and Bath Spa Univer­sity.

“This is a very chal­leng­ing and un­cer­tain time for many of us, and al­though we are, on the whole, pretty re­silient, we are in un­prece­dented times. It is im­por­tant not to un­der­es­ti­mate the im­pact the pan­demic is hav­ing on our men­tal health and well­be­ing.

“We all need hu­man con­nec­tion and in­ter­ac­tion, and the iso­la­tion and re­duc­tion in per­sonal con­tact as a re­sult of the pan­demic is ex­cep­tion­ally hard on young peo­ple.

“We urge stu­dents to talk to each other. Ask others how they are feel­ing and talk about how you are feel­ing. It may put you out­side of your com­fort zone, but talk­ing can re­ally help, so please take that first step.”

The Univer­sity of Bath has also en­cour­aged stu­dents af­fected by th­ese re­cent events to make the most of their own sup­port ser­vices.

Ms Mor­ton added: “Head­ing to univer­sity dur­ing th­ese un­cer­tain times is a far big­ger chal­lenge for most, with many changes mean­ing that the univer­sity ex­pe­ri­ence will be dif­fer­ent to that which they ex­pected.

“It’s hard ar­riv­ing some­where new – you may not have close friends with you, and may not feel you know peo­ple well enough yet to share your feel­ings with them, but you are not alone.”

She con­tin­ued: “We un­der­stand that pick­ing up phone or turn­ing up at a group can be dif­fi­cult – some­times text and email can be an eas­ier way to start shar­ing how you feel.

“If you don’t feel com­fort­able talk­ing with a friend, we are here, please con­tact us. Never be afraid to reach out, there is al­ways some­body at Bath Mind to lis­ten and sup­port you.

“Look out for peo­ple in the com­mu­nity and con­sider how they may be feel­ing. Please talk with your neigh­bours, young and old – check that they are OK, on a reg­u­lar ba­sis if you can. Be kind to one an­other and un­der­stand that some­one may be qui­etly suf­fer­ing on the in­side, whilst seem­ingly ‘OK’ on the out­side. If you are wor­ried about some­one, please talk with them and en­cour­age them to con­tact us.

“Our Safe Space group meets ev­ery week at Bath Col­lege, of­fer­ing a place to meet and talk, and ac­cess fur­ther sup­port. Tak­ing that first step can be hard, but please get in touch. We are here for you, to lis­ten to you and to sup­port you.”

 ??  ?? Martin Bow­ers
Martin Bow­ers

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