Brain health issues are on the rise on college campuses across the country. Better and accessible screening as well as earlier diagnosis are critical to getting quality treatment and improving one’s quality of life. This has allowed more students with mental health conditions to go on to college and be successful.
Living in a new environment outside the familiarity of home can create overwhelming and stressful circumstances. College students can greatly benefit from understanding that a certain amount of stress is normal, but that too much stress can be unhealthy and unproductive. Knowing the signs of stress, its causes and how to manage it can be a great tool in promoting and preserving good mental health.
Despite growing attention to wellbeing and mental health supports in higher education, conversations and recommendations sometimes exclude students with mental health diagnoses. Mental Health America’s (MHA) new report, Supporting College Students: Mental Health and Disability in Higher Education, highlights members of our most recent Collegiate Mental Health Innovation Council (CMHIC) and documents challenges and opportunities for increasing accessibility in higher education.
Recommendations for campuses include:
- Partnering with students to educate the campus community on mental health disabilities and accommodations.
- Celebrating and educating students on disability culture and contributions through courses in disability studies and disability cultural centers.
- Partnering with students with disabilities to train disability services staff to understand and develop appropriate accommodations.
Partnering with students with disabilities or disability services staff to provide navigation support during the disability accommodations process.
- Creating alternatives to medical documentation of mental health disabilities due to structural barriers, like lack of health insurance or lack of diverse mental health professionals, that prevent many students from accessing mental health resources.
- Training professors on mental health disabilities and accommodations, including how to support students requesting accommodations.