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During a freshers’ experience like no other, over two thirds (68%) of students believe that COVID-19 has had a negative impact on their mental health since starting university. Only 20% of those surveyed claimed that their mental health has not been impacted by the pandemic. (@comelivewithus)

Revealed in a study conducted as part of The Student Housing Company’s wellbeing programme, the research also found that 93% of students believe COVID-19 has made it harder for them to make friends at university.

In response, The Student Housing Company is seeking to expand the support it provides through its industry leading Student Wellbeing Strategy – a unique 9-pillar framework which tackles students’ spiritual, mental, cultural, social, environmental, physical, academic, financial and career needs – by trialling new schemes and partnerships to help students through the months ahead.

With the study revealing that almost a third (28%) of students are now actively playing board games as an alternative way of keeping themselves entertained, the student accommodation operator is piloting a #SafeSocials initiative, which will offer students access to some of Britain’s most loved board games including – Articulate Fame, The Logo Game: Best of Food, The Harry Potter Wizarding Game, Sketchy and The Best of Christmas (Not for Kids).

The scheme, which is being trialled at Bentley House in Birmingham, Depot Point in London and Arran House in Edinburgh, is being run in partnership with TOMY, the exclusive distributor of Drumond Park games, and is designed to help students build strong friendships with their flatmates and have fun in a safe, COVID-19 compliant environment.

Richard Brenner, Operations Director at The Student Housing Company, said:

“We have made significant investment into developing our student wellbeing strategy and right now it has never been more important. Acting swiftly on student feedback is something we take very seriously and, as well as our #SafeSocials pilot, we are actively assessing how we can help students’ mindfulness in other ways, whether it be by exercising or cooking – both of which were shown by our study to be amongst the most favoured methods of relaxing during these challenging times.

“Across our sector, there are continued efforts being made towards improving students’ wellbeing. That said, there is no doubt that more is still to be done.”

As part of its ongoing wellbeing programme, The Student Housing Company also added a fully digital wellbeing campaign toolkit to help ensure students are supported as far as possible during the pandemic, as well as a ‘Let's Chat Series’, where residents are invited to virtual meet and greets with other students from around the world.

Mary Wood, General Manager UK and International at TOMY, said:

“We’re delighted to be working with The Student Housing Company to bring a little joy to students around the UK during these strange circumstances. Our Drumond Park portfolio has grown expeditiously in recent years, with games becoming increasingly popular across different age groups, including students, as a great way to socialise and bond.”

Research conducted amongst 512 UK students in November 2020.

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