Support for BME students during Covid-19

Covid-19 has had a major disruptive impact on our daily lives. It has a disproportionate effect on BME communities, and the virus has reinforced structural inequalities.

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Below is a summary of the sources of information, help and support that BME students can access within Goldsmiths and elsewhere.

Looking after your health and wellbeing

General health

Health inequalities for BME communities can be linked to unequal access to healthcare. Some health variations are linked to poverty and wider social inequalities, although there is a range of interlinked and overlapping factors.

There is a lot of information, help and advice on the NHS website for people who may be at higher risk of contracting Covid-19.

It is even more important at this time that you ensure that you are registered with a GP, especially if you have an underlying condition.

All Goldsmiths students, wherever you live, can register with Amersham Vale, our local GP practice. Amersham Vale also offers online consultation and phone appointments. See their Covid-19 pages for advice, to keep you and your family safe.

Emotional and Mental health support for BME students

As a BME student, being more impacted by Covid-19 may have created or compounded worries and pressure around finance, employment, being able to get on with your studies, or caring for a relative. You may also have been affected by the loss of friends/family or simply being away from them, worrying about them and being detached from reliable sources of support, comfort, friendship and love.

Support available at Goldsmiths

Wellbeing Service

If you need someone to talk to, the Wellbeing Service offers confidential phone and video calls. You can discuss any concerns you might have and the best support available to you. You can contact them at wellbeing (@gold.ac.uk) – a Wellbeing Adviser will get in touch with you to arrange a time for an appointment.

They can provide advice and support for any personal, emotional and mental health difficulties you may encounter. They can also refer you on to our other Goldsmiths Support Services (such as the ones described below) or other services external to the College.

For urgent enquiries see emergency and crisis support.

Campus Support

The Campus Support Officers (CSOs) are the out of hours support for Goldsmiths students every day of the week. Contact the CSOs.

Student Counselling Service

Goldsmiths can offer short-term counselling support to students. The Counselling Service is still available over the summer break and throughout the year. To access Counselling support, please speak with a Wellbeing Adviser.

The counselling team is diverse and has members of staff who are of BME background (as have our Mental Health Advisers). All counsellors are experienced in conducting culturally-sensitive practice, particularly where this may apply to understanding different cultural responses to stresses that you may face.

The Goldsmiths Student Counselling Service has created a series of videos that address a range of wellbeing issues that will be of interest to all students.

New videos are periodically added so make sure that you check this link regularly for updates.

Goldsmiths Mental Health Advisers (MHAs)

Goldsmiths has two Mental Health Advisers who support students that are facing difficulties with their mental health. They have a mental health nursing background and like their colleagues in the other Student Support Teams are experienced in supporting students from diverse cultural backgrounds.

 MHAs can:

  • Offer a confidential one to one space to discuss issues and formulate plans in order to help you fulfil your potential.
  • Assess your mental health needs and provide guidance and support and formulate care plans to facilitate management of your mental health.
  • Work with a wide range of conditions such as anxiety, depression, psychosis, self-harm and sleep issues.
  • Facilitate links with GPs and other NHS Specialist Mental Health Services.
"When the COVID-19 crisis began to unfold, we were told that the virus does not discriminate, but what we have discovered the current recent government data is that “people of Chinese Indian, Pakistani other Asian, Caribbean and other black backgrounds facing much higher risk of death, or between 10 to 50% compared with whites." Dr. Gurnam Singh, Coventry University

Bereavement Support

Some of you may have lost a loved one or support somebody who has lost a loved one to Covid-19. You may find the Goldsmiths advice on bereavement helpful to navigate these difficult times.

Goldsmiths Multi-Faith Chaplaincy

Our multi-faith chaplaincy team are here for the pastoral care of everyone, whatever your faith/belief practices may be.

The multi-faith chaplaincy seeks to listen attentively to the specific cultural/religious needs you may require as a BME student. They welcome everyone and is non-judgmental to individuals, whilst being aware of how faith, community and culture play an important role in your life at Goldsmiths.

The multi-faith chaplaincy aims to ask you about the important things you would like us to know about your culture, faith and spirituality. They also seek to be mindful of our own cultural influences and unconscious bias.

To get in touch with a chaplain, e-mail chaplaincy (@gold.ac.uk).

Throughout the year, the multi-faith chaplaincy organises weekly and annual events which offer hospitality and seek to bring people together in community. In our community life, we hope all students feel valued, strengthened and inspired by the richness of our cultural diversity and the global community at Goldsmiths.

The two Chaplains at Goldsmiths are members of the Lewisham Inter faith forum, through which we can signpost BME students to a wide variety of local faith communities in different religious traditions.

Find out about weekly and annual events in the multi-faith chaplaincy.

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Feeling alone

We all feel lonely from time to time and experiencing feelings of loneliness is a natural reaction during the current coronavirus pandemic. Having feelings of loneliness is personal and our experiences of loneliness vary.

BME community members may also feel lonely due to additional triggers of loneliness such as being unable to access community activities and support, racism, xenophobia and religious discrimination.

Many BME community members are also dependent on cultural and religious community networks which give them further religious and cultural support. The Covid-19 pandemic has limited this crucial support network for the BME community.

Below are some links with practical tips and advice to help with loneliness:

You may also want to look out for communal virtual events organised by the diverse Goldsmiths Student Union cultural and religious student societies, as well as events co-ordinated by the multi-faith chaplaincy and other Goldsmiths university departments. These are advertised by the individual societies via their social media platforms.

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Safety

Racial harassment and hate crime

Acts of racism, hate crime and xenophobia have sadly, increased since the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic.

You can report these to Goldsmiths:

Sexual violence

Reports suggest that lockdowns due to the pandemic have resulted in a significant increase in sexual violence. Domestic abuse agencies have reported increased demand for their services and in response the government has announced £27m in emergency funding for domestic abuse services.

Gender-based violence, sexual harassment, domestic violence, stalking and sexual misconduct is never okay. Our Report and Support website invites members of our community to report any incidents, involving individuals, a group or culture, anonymously or with detail. Goldsmiths will offer support from trained sexual violence liaison officers and action will be taken by a triage team of senior staff.

See support information on Domestic violence and Sexual violence.

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Financial support

We recognise that students are more likely to encounter financial difficulties during Covid-19. Money issues can have a negative impact on your education and wellbeing; there is a range of support available through the Student Advice team.

We encourage you to be prepared for the financial reality of university life. This means ensuring that funding is in place for Tuition Fees and Maintenance (if applicable) as well as living costs.

Useful tools that can help:

  • We have a partnership with Blackbullion; you can register with your Goldsmiths email address. Blackbullion is a money management tool intended to provide you with useful skills to manage money.
  • We encourage you to visit our financial support pages to check your eligibility to apply for student discounts and benefits especially in relation to:
    • Student bank accounts for optimum lending rates
    • Council Tax Exemption
    • Transport for London 18+ Oyster
    • National Railcard discounts
  • The Student Hardship Fund, incorporating the Childcare Fund, is a limited fund to assist disadvantaged students experiencing financial hardship to continue with their studies and attendance at Goldsmiths.
  • The Hall Fee Fund is also available to assist students from low-income households that have accepted a place in Goldsmiths or affiliate accommodation. This will be available for the 2020/21 session.

Applications continue to be accepted and students are able to apply. Updates on funding available are noted on our website regularly.

If you have any money queries, concerns or worries, please contact advice (@gold.ac.uk).

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Future career

Goldsmiths Career Service has a suite of services and help for students from a BME background.

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Resources and sources of support