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Tuesday November 30, 2021

Pak students raise mental health concerns amidst pandemic

June 16, 2020

LONDON: The Pakistani students in different universities across the UK have raised concerns over the impact Covid-19 has had on their mental health.

In an online conference called ‘solidarity in Covid19’, which was organized by the United South Asia, it was observed that the pandemic was severely impacting on student's mental well being.

The Zoom conference was chaired by Hassan Rauf Awan and deputy chair Syed Ali Mustafa. Writers Nimra Naeem and Heena Shaikh also participated in the conference. Representatives from the London School of Economics, Brunel University, Oxford University, Southampton University, Cambridge University, Essex University, University of Hertfordshire, Warwick University, Birmingham City University, University of Liverpool and London South Bank University participated in the meeting.

Hassan Rauf Awan told the participants that mental health issues were highly rising among the students. He said mental health issue cases had been reported as sharply increasing all over the world and the suicide of a talented Bollywood actor this week showed how mental health issues should be taken seriously, talked about openly to help those who are suffering and not brush the issues under the carpet.

He said people of all ages and backgrounds felt suffocated, margianlised, and isolated from human interaction and that has affected the mental health issues very badly. Mr. Awan added that uncertainty would remain until there was a permanent solution to Covid-19.

Vice-chair Syed Ali Mustafa encouraged students to think about how people could be together in the pandemic and express unity. President of Liverpool University Paksoc, Haris Alam said: "Everyone was busy in their lives, but now the outbreak of pandemic had raised awareness of different matters. Supporting others in these hard times is the need of today."

Oxford University’s Maah Noor Ali said the changes were hard to adapt to and everyone was trying to adjust and make their way through this time. University of Hertfordshire's Farhan Awan raised concerns over the troubles many students faced with accommodation and food as they had lost employment opportunities. He said his university had now Introduced Hardship Fund for students who lost jobs and are facing financial hardships.

On the contrary London School of Economics student, Behram Khan told the conference that international students were not only facing issues over their visa, but were also finding it hard to find internships and placements. Birmingham City University's Jaspreet Singh said, "Due to the pandemic we have had more time to spend with families and we should stop political activities and stay together." He further said the Sikh community in Birmingham was helping people get over this pandemic by donating money to look after the communities in need.