UK students launch petition for more mental health support, extended assessment deadlines

LONDON, Jan. 9 (Xinhua) -- Three students from the University of Liverpool have launched a petition to highlight the impact of COVID-19 in "worrying and uncertain times", urging the university to extend assessment deadlines and do more to support mental health and wellbeing.

File photo: AFP

Thousands of students, as well as the families of students, have already signed the petition started by law student Rebecca Bailey and two of her university friends.

Bailey, who helped set up a COVID-19 support group for students, said the petition was started to help students gain a safety net as well as extended deadlines and more mental health support.

"Over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, we as students have constantly felt that our situation is untenable. Coping with the stresses of university work during a pandemic has not been easy and we feel that the support offered to us by the university has not been proportionate to this struggle," she said.

"The number of students suffering with mental health issues is on the rise at a staggering rate, which is exacerbated by the drastic increase in workload and the uncertainty surrounding online learning," she said, noting that mental health support to students has been insufficient.

Many students are spending at least eight hours a day staring at a computer screen with limited social interactions, Bailey added.

England is currently put into a new national lockdown, the third of its kind since the pandemic began in Britain, as the country is struggling to curb rising coronavirus infections.

The return of more students to universities from Christmas holidays has been pushed back to "at least mid-February" under England's new lockdown.

Britain's largest higher education union, the University and College Union, has called for teaching to stay online for the whole of this term.

To bring life back to normal, countries such as Britain, China, Germany, Russia and the United States have been racing against time to develop coronavirus vaccines.