College is considered one of the most vital periods of your life. Not only are you pushing to settle yourself into a career, but you’re making that important transition from adolescent to adult.
The work involved can make your head spin with stress. Though you may feel alone in that pressure, it’s common for students to suffer from mental illness.
The problem of this escalating condition is too many students aren’t seeking help. They see mental health and school stress as a responsibility of their own. As a necessary battle of life. With that, their grades tend to likewise struggle.
The purpose of this blog is to give advice to those who’re caught in this conflict of getting a degree while managing mental health. And to get your grades back on track.
Recognizing the Problem
If you’ve made it as far as this post, you’re already aware of a problem. Now is the time to properly understand just what that problem is.
The most effective way to go about this is to seek professional help. Whether it’s through a counselor at your college or a psychologist, a proper diagnosis will offer a more probable solution.
Recognition is key as it can prevent the problem from spreading further. Usually, a student facing one mental concern has another they aren’t entirely aware of. In an example, someone with bipolar disorder might be victim to suicidal thoughts in the future. Or someone with anxiety may end up abusing drugs as a means of self-medicating.
Mental health has the ability to stem further than one might initially assume. A professional analysis will prove beneficial as it’ll dig into the roots of the problem.
The most common mental illnesses amongst college students are:
- Addiction and substance use disorders
- Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
- Anxiety disorders
- Bipolar disorder
- Eating disorders
- Depression and/or suicide
- Sleeping disorders
Seek Out Accommodations and Academic Adjustments
Students who suffer from mental illness might feel uncomfortable when asking the school for special assistance. However, many might not be aware of the rights instituted in most universities.
If you go to a secondary or postsecondary school collects public funding, you’re protected for accommodations under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).
Under these acts, your rights include:
- Preferred Seating – The right to sit in a space that’s most comfortable for you.
- Additional Breaks – The ability to come and go from class as suits you.
- Tape Recording – To record a lesson for the sake of listening to it later.
- Separate Exam Rooms – To test in an area you’re most comfortable with.
- Written Presentations – The right to avoid an oral presentation in replacement for a writing assignment.
- Deadline Extension – The ability to hand in assignments past the due date.
- To Work From Home – To receive lectures and assignments without attending class.
The reason these rights exist is to better the chances of you receiving a higher grade. Since no two people with mental illness will relate to accommodations, there’s a variety set in place to adjust to your needs.
Each college will have different ways of going about these accommodations. However, all will seek out documentation of your mental health.
The Possibility of Online Education
There are plenty out there who aren’t comfortable with on-campus education. Luckily, digital learning has grown rapidly within the past decade. With that, many universities offer the possibility to receive a degree entirely online.
Though this option might not be for everyone, those who suffer more severe mental illnesses will find online education highly beneficial. For it allows you to control your health while still pursuing a degree.
The only downside is not all colleges offer full benefits to people solely online. These include counseling and disability services.
Find Your Support System
Though school services can be essential to better your performance in class, it’s essential for your overall mental health to be surrounded by supportive individuals.
As mentioned in the introduction, many students believe they need to fight their mental health battle alone. This is one of the prime reasons victims of illness fall short in their education.
You’ll find some of the best assistance from those you’re already surrounded by. Whether they be family or friends.
Still, if you seek further help, look no further than your own college campus. Most universities offer some sort of individual and group counseling. Furthermore, seek out if your college offers disability centers. These offer the potential for private screenings to help you better understand your mental health.
The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) is another resource that reaches out to hundreds of schools. They’re known to formulate clubs where students can meet with other students who are, likewise, struggling with mental illness.
When browsing through the internet, you may also find confidential online resource centers. These offer support to those individuals who aren’t as open about their mental health and desire to keep it private. Two notable sites are the JED Foundation and ULifeline.
In addition, there’s a range of treatment facilities to look into. You can discover these options through a Google search or a more pinpointed detector, such as Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration’s behavioral health treatment locator.
Don’t Give Up on Your Degree
It’s difficult to manage mental health and education. The fact that many students are attempting to do so on their own terms is proof that something needs to be done.
Never before have there been so many resources out there for those who suffer from mental illness.
As these resources are put to use, more and more of those who suffer are gaining their chance to get a degree. Along with it, their grades are improving and they’re discovering a support system that may just facilitate the rest of their lives.
(Feature photo by Flickr user Mike)