‘Never be afraid to reach out for some support’
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.”