Transitioning to College: A Diagnosis of Mental Illness Need Not End a College Career

[fusion_builder_container hundred_percent=”yes” overflow=”visible”][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ background_position=”left top” background_color=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” spacing=”yes” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” padding=”” margin_top=”0px” margin_bottom=”0px” class=”” id=”” animation_type=”” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_direction=”left” hide_on_mobile=”no” center_content=”no” min_height=”none”][fusion_dropcap color=”” boxed=”yes” boxed_radius=”50%” class=”” id=””]S[/fusion_dropcap]tarting a conversation about your mental health with your family members is a critical part of preparing for college. A recent survey reported by NAMI indicates that 47% of students living with schizophrenia drop out of college, compared to the 27% college dropout rate in the U.S. overall.  Another study reports that students diagnosed with bipolar disorder are 70% more likely to drop out of college than students with no psychiatric diagnosis.

NAMI’s new report, “Starting the Conversation: College and Your Mental Health,” provides important information about college-related mental health, including privacy laws, various on-campus resources, and what to do when a mental health condition arises.

Key takeaways:

  • Mental health conditions are common. One in five young adults will experience a mental health condition during their college years. When facing a mental illness, students should know they are not alone.
  • There are warning signs. Parents and students should learn how to recognize the warning signs of mental illness in themselves and in others before it’s too late. Being informed can save lives.
  • Seek help when you need it. Students should be aware of the mental health resources and care options available to them— for example, most colleges have health clinics on campus—and should not hesitate to ask for help.  Enlist the support of mental health providers.
  • Know the laws. Understand your child’s rights. The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) prohibits colleges and universities from discriminating against students living with a mental illness, so long as the student meets the academic and behavioral requirements of the school. A college or university may not deny access to a student solely on the basis of mental illness, or refuse to implement appropriate accommodations that will help a student achieve their educational goals.


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