New data suggests university students are more likely to feel lonely than the general population
The study, by the Higher Education Policy Institute, found 23 percent of students felt lonely all the time last year, compared with five percent of the adult population as a whole.
The institute’s director says it’s a “tough time to be a student, with cost-of-living rises, mental-health challenges and worries about the future”.
Katherine Brown, a student ministry leader for Fusion told YCW that it wasn’t a shock to hear this was the case: “It’s not a surprise to me at all that this news report has come out.
“I think loneliness in the student generation has always been an issue.
“But particularly coming off the back of a pandemic, this issue has just blown up.
“Because you’re seeing a whole group of students – first years, second years, third years – who have all had their time at university affected by COVID.
“They had a whole time when they weren’t on campus and they weren’t able to build relationships. They’re doing everything online, there’s no time for community, there’s not really any extracurricular things.”
Brown thinks this is the right time for Christians to get involved in helping those who feel isolated: “I think this is a wonderful opportunity for the Church, this is just an open door for the Church to step in and do what it does best.
“I think we have an opportunity to open our doors much wider, to not just invite the Christian students, but to say to those students who have never given church a go, who have never given church a second thought: ‘You can try church at university, why not come to church and find a community of people who will love you, who will get to know you, and will help you with that loneliness?’”
Brown explained the work they do at Fusion to help students: “I talked to a lot of churches about what I do at Fusion. Lots of churches, not just because of COVID, but historically, really care about the Christian students arriving in their cities.
“So they’re concerned about helping the Christian students not walk away from church when they leave their youth group, but wanting to invite them to come and try their church while they’re at university and that’s a fantastic thing to do.”