Manchester Uni deletes Insta post telling students to see lockdown ‘as a retreat’

The post gave students advice for coping with their mental health in lockdown

In an Instagram post, the University of Manchester gave their students a list of ways to “remain positive” whilst in lockdown, including telling students to see lockdown as a “retreat”.

The post has now been deleted following backlash online, with people calling the advice “patronising and insensitive”.

Among other things, the post listed five ways to “remain positive”, the most ill-received being: “Don’t see this as a lockdown, but as a retreat.”

One student said: “@OfficialUoM really outdone themselves with this advice. Seem to have confused national lockdown in Manchester with two weeks in Bali.”

Other pieces of advice included: “When you’re feeling depressed, think about your future – this won’t last forever”; “Imagine how good it’ll feel when you can actually go out and do all the things you love again”; “Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass but learning to dance in the rain”.

The Instagram post was “created with a research team” that had been working with teenagers and young people about their experiences in lockdown and how they are taking care of their wellbeing.

The university acknowledged how the post may have been perceived as “not appropriate” and have since deleted it. However, students have blasted the post as “patronising and insensitive”.

The idea from the post came from experts at the university. They put together a short film that shares young people’s experiences of lockdown during the coronavirus pandemic. Alongside this, a free online toolkit was released for education staff working to support teenagers during the pandemic.

Dr Ola Demkowicz who led the study said: “The film highlights how difficult lockdown can be for teenagers, which may explain some of the rises in mental health issues that are being observed in wider research. The ‘positives of lockdown’ shown in the film also draw attention to how challenging normal life can be for teenagers.”

The University of Manchester said: “The Instagram post was created by a research team that have been working with young people about their lockdown experiences. This is part of a toolkit to support them. You can find out more here.

“Many have found the graphics and toolkit to be useful, but we understand that it may not be appropriate for all and will be taking down from Instagram soon. For support specific to our University students, you can find more information here.”

When contacted by The Manchester Tab, a spokesperson said the university had no further comment to make.

Featured image (before edits) via Instagram @officialuom (now deleted) and Unsplash @bernardhermant

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