disclaimer: all quotes in this article are direct opinions and statements from students from Colchester and the surrounding areas aged 15-18. All statistics are from controlled surveys of students from Colchester, and part of primary research conducted by the author. Names have been changed for anonymity.

2020 has been a year for the history books; 2 national lockdowns in Britain and numerous restrictions in place to keep the spread of COVID-19 to a minimum. Whatever your views on a second national lockdown are, it's enforced until the 2nd December, leaving millions around the country isolated and struggling with their mental health. Schools and colleges remain open, therefore students are left with education being the focal point of their lives, with limited support outside of their daily classes due to restrictions. 

When a group of students were asked if they felt supported in regards to their mental health in lockdown, 71% said they did not, and 53% of the same group said they wouldn't know where to go if they needed help with their mental health. Olivia, a student from Colchester suggested "the government should fund mental health services, or helplines, a lot more, especially now [lockdown]). This is a view shared by many students like Olivia, with another student suggesting "it feels like our [students] mental health isn't taken into consideration when we enter lockdown."

As well as the stresses of a pandemic that the nation experiences, students also have deadlines and studies that contribute to that stress, and without the support of their peers it can feel overwhelming, and as some students suggested, "suffocating". A majority of students are reliant on their friends to help them with education related or personal issues, and 57% of those surveyed rated their mental health average or below average; this emphasises the demand on having a strong support bubble. Emily, a student from Colchester said "The lack of communication only fuels the feeling of isolation, and emphasises the fact that I'm alone". Another student, Luke, added "I can't get support from my friends. I know we need to stop the spread but it's starting to make me feel really bad". Are we failing our young people with the lack of resources avaliable for mental health in Lockdown? These are exceptionally unprecendented times, and one of the most common invisible sufferances is more prevalent then ever. 

From issues relating to school stress, family stress, and transitioning into adulthood, young people are at a time in their lives when isolation is a particularily challenging thing. So don't let your peers, family members and friends suffer alone; although we are locked down, it doesn't mean we can't open up to others.

If you or someone you know if struggling with their mental health, get in touch with your GP. For current mental health advice and information please visit https://www.nhs.uk/oneyou/every-mind-matters/?WT.tsrc=Search&WT.mc_id=Brand&gclid=EAIaIQobChMIhvT-qJb27AIVh6ztCh0kqAs8EAAYASAAEgJw4_D_BwE 

Samaritans is a free 24 hour mental health helpline, contact them on 116 123.