‘It’s truly heartbreaking’: Sheffessions’ admins say one in four submissions are about mental health

They’re experiencing the student mental health crisis first-hand

With lockdown limiting human contact and leaving students trapped, mental health amongst those at uni has plummeted.

Instead of uni counselling services and NHS mental health resources, many students are turning to confession pages as an outlet. All around the UK, they’ve seen a rise in posts about mental health. Some admins have even seen suicidal posts double.

Sheffield’s biggest student confession page, Sheffessions, is no exception.  Over the last couple of weeks, around one in four submissions have been mental health related. Before teaching moved online, around one in eight submissions were mental health related, stats from 2019 show.

“It is really concerning to read these submissions with no way of directly helping the person who submitted it. It’s worrying for us, thinking about these people who are struggling and may not feel able to open up to their friends and family,” a Sheffessions admin told The Tab.

The submissions are usually centred around similar things, including a lack of motivation, feeling lonely, difficulty navigating online learning, and lack of communication from the university. Admins said there are some that are “far more serious and truly heartbreaking” to read.

Three people are tasked with monitoring the page and its content – and it can take a toll. “Unfortunately, these posts come at a time when we are feeling the stress of the current situation too, so it can definitely have an effect on us,” they continued.

“At the same time, it’s really eye-opening and gives us an insight into how students at Sheffield are really feeling, so we are able to signpost our followers to support services should they feel they need to chat with someone who can provide personal help.”

With new restrictions announced, the team decided to put out a post with the various support services available to students. It currently has over 1,300 reacts and 52 shares.

Admins said: “Sometimes kind words can do so much more than people realise. Students need to be told that it’s okay to be feeling like this, that it’s normal, especially in times so uncertain. They need to be told their mental and physical health comes first, and they need to be told they’re not alone in this.”

If you’re struggling, you can contact the University of Sheffield’s mental health services here and Sheffield Hallam’s mental health services here.