College Guide for Students With Psychiatric Disabilities
According to the latest statistics from the National Alliance on Mental Illness, 43.8 million Americans, or 18.5% of the national population, experience mental illness every year. Mental illness is a broad term defined by the Mayo Clinic as any disorder that affects one’s mood, thinking, or behavior. When mental illness influences family life, work, education, and other aspects day-to-day life, the condition is known as a psychiatric disability.
A recent report from Johns Hopkins University notes that psychiatric disabilities are not caused by singular life events; rather, they are persistent conditions that may have a significant, lifelong impact. Those diagnosed with a psychiatric disability may mitigate the effects of their condition with medication and/or ongoing psychotherapy. Even with treatment though, many psychiatric disabilities will persist in some form.
College students with psychiatric disabilities face unique educational challenges. Dedicated mental health counselors and disability coordinators are available on most campuses, and students can typically seek medical attention. Many students, however, do not know how to get help for their problems. To help students get the assistance they need, we have examined instructional strategies, course accommodations, and other campus services designed to serve this population. Our goal is to provide a comprehensive resource for college-bound high school seniors and currently enrolled postsecondary students who struggle with mental illness.