According to the American College Health Association, anxiety and depression represent two major challenges among American students: 60% of respondents confirm extreme anxiety cases, while 40% of students deal with the depression that affects their daily activities.
This unfortunate situation is echoed by the Penn State University reports showing that "rapid access" mental health boards' use has been increased by 28%. There are numerous reasons for such indicators, including financial burdens. As stress levels constantly increase due to challenging curriculum demands and peer pressure challenges, it is hard to underestimate the role of scholarship as a resource for the students that face mental health problems while on campus.
7 Mental Health Problems Among College Students
The emotional and psychological well-being of an average college student is directly related to accommodation and readiness to cope with the new challenges. In some cases, however, unexpected issues may occur like an injury, loss of a parent, or a mental trauma related to physical harassment. It confirms the variety of mental issues that are faced by college students today, including:
- Depression and self-injury thoughts. It includes constant mood changes where the sadness, loss of hope, and lack of interest in what has been enjoyable in the past come to the foreground. It also relates to sleep disturbances, joint pains, and headaches that have an emotional constituent to them. As a rule, depression does not have constant symptoms, therefore, mood changes are not necessarily an indication of being depressed. Insecurity or an excessive amount of stress are often related to exams. However, if talk suicide thoughts have been spotted, a student must be referred to a health center immediately.
- Anxiety. Anxiety stands for being worried most of the time, going through physical or mental tension that breaks down into frequent panic attacks. If it affects studying and other activities, it is a reason to contact a healthcare specialist. Panic attacks usually include sweating, muscle pains, headaches, or upset stomach. There may be physical or mental reasons for having anxiety (the same stands for post-traumatic stress disorder cases - PTSD).
- Substance addiction. One of the most serious mental health issues faced by college students. While the symptoms of alcohol addiction are mostly visible, drug abuse does not have to be immediately evident. If you suspect drug abuse, contact the college counsellor in private.
- Eating & mood disorders. According to the National Eating Disorder Association, 10-20% of female college students suffer from the issue, while the male students make up to 10% of all cases. Reasons for that include negative peer pressure, a distorted body image, fear of being rejected, and irregular eating habits. Eating disorders are a complex issue and can lead to anorexia, bulimia, and binge eating disorder.
- Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). This illness involves more than just an emotional factor that occurs when a student cannot cope with an exam or a student loan. According to several research reports, ADHD mental condition also relates to an individual's genetics, life events, food, medication, and even change of environment, which is especially relevant for first-year college students. Now, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder is not equal to hyperactivity alone but also deals with lack of motivation, feeling depressed, or being unable to focus on an important task without feeling irritated or lost.
- Bipolar Affective Disorder. Affecting approximately 60 million people worldwide, Bipolar Disorder has several symptoms like irritation, sudden mood changes, hyperactivity, abnormal sense of self-esteem, irregular sleep patterns, and depressive episodes. If a student has trouble sleeping, feels hopeless or suddenly falls into extreme sadness, it may be related to a case of bipolar affective disorder.
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). A challenging part of post-traumatic stress disorder is that it deals with all kinds of students, including physical abuse victims, veterans, individuals who have lost a sibling, or those who have been through substance abuse challenges. College PTSD is especially relevant for those who have served in the military and find it difficult to accommodate while living through the frequent battle scene flashbacks or fits of anger and hopelessness.
Accommodations for Mental Health Students
It is not only the psychiatric diagnoses like depression, borderline personality disorder, or bipolar affective disorder that require special accommodation for students but the functional limitations as well that include severe anxiety or interaction challenges. There are three types of accommodations for such students - classroom, examination, and assignment. Here are some examples:
- Preferential seating and separate exam rooms. Exams are usually stressful, especially for students with mental health conditions. Add flexibility by letting them come and go at their convenience.
- Extra breaks and extended deadlines. Students with mental disorders may not always be able to submit their work on time. You can give them extra time or even let them complete their assignments at home.
- Digital recording of lectures. Sometimes it’s hard to stay focussed, especially for those having attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Allow to record materials so they can come back to it at a better time.
- Online learning. It can be an ideal way to find a balance between managing illness and still attending college. Students don’t have to be online at a specific time for lectures or interact with their peers. Course material is available 24/7 and they can complete assignments at times that best suit their schedules.
- Creative approach to studying. Because some students are uncomfortable with the traditional approach to studying, creative techniques can be a great alternative like visual presentations, role-playing games, etc.
Where to Find Mental Health Support?
In addition to available college help resources that are usually available on campus, it is crucial to know several foundations and organizations aiming to help mental health students nationwide. Most importantly, three major services must be contacted immediately in case of suspected danger:
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration: 1-800-662-HELP (4357)
National Alliance of the Mentally Ill: 1-800-950-6264
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
Be sure to check these helpful resources:
- Anxiety & Depression Association of America. This organization has over twenty years of work experience with the mental health students. You may find all possible resources and consulting services there.
- The Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance. You will find both online or offline support groups that match your location.
- American College Health Association (ACHA). It provides useful resources, the latest well-being tips, scholarship news, and special examination rules for the mental disorder students.
- JED Foundation. If you have a college friend with mental issues or you experience emotional health challenges, this network will provide you with additional information regarding required behavior, helpful cooperation tips, and contacts of students with similar conditions.
- Anxiety Resource Center. It offers educational materials, explanatory guides, and the latest news related to anxiety disorder.
5 Tips for Students with Mental Health Problems
- Give yourself due credit! Value your achievements and treat yourself with respect and kindness.
- Healing takes time. If you need a private space or want to take a break, you have a legal right for it.
- Join local support groups that deal with depression and anxiety.
- Participate in community work and charity campaigns.
- Find your true passion like playing a musical instrument in a band, or doing sports. Follow it as much as you can!
Scholarships for Students with Mental Disorders
There is nothing as important as motivation and financial independence that comes with a scholarship. There are quite a few of them available, depending on the particular situation, a degree one is trying to pursue, or a mental issue. Explore the requirements, study available options, and receive timely tuition help just when you need it!
- Baer Reintegration Scholarship - This scholarship is intended exclusively for students with bipolar disorder or schizoaffective state. If you are a part-time student or have a full-time course schedule for an undergraduate or a graduate curriculum, this scholarship covers most educational costs. Apply from October to January annually.
- Delete Cyberbullying Scholarship Award - This particular award has a goal to raise cyberbullying problem awareness. It is a $1,000 scholarship that is available for those who have been personally affected by the bullies online. Since it represents a serious issue, this award is also a unique research platform.
- Buckfire&Buckfire Disability Scholarship Program - This award is available for students with a mental disability who have successfully completed at least one semester. It also offers legal support from the Buckfire Law Company.
- Frederick J. Krause AAHD Scholarships - This scholarship is available to students with various physical or mental disabilities. To apply, a student has to write a strong personal statement letter, share two recommendation letters, and provide disability proof.
- The Jared Monroe Foundation Scholarship - The scholarship of $2,300 is available to full-time college students who fall into bipolar disorder. A student applying for this award should present medical proof and a treatment program to be eligible.
- The John Lepping Memorial Scholarship - This scholarship goes up to $5,000 and deals with the students who have experienced a mental disability, PTSD, or faced a serious physical trauma like loss of a limb or injuries related to the spinal cord.
- The Disabled Veterans Scholarship by The Ankin Law Office - It is available for the U.S. veterans who pursue a college degree and have a 30% disability rating. Disorders may include but not limited to PTSD, behavioral disorders, or physical traumas. It covers the book costs and tuition.
- The Quell Foundation Survivor Scholarship - There are several reasons why students may find themselves eligible for this scholarship. If you have lost a parent or a sibling due to mental illness or suicide, this program is meant to support such cases.
- The Jack Scura Fund Scholarship - If you have an intellectual disability, serious physical trauma, or psychiatric issues that need additional learning assistance, this scholarship is the right option with an exception. One has to be a student enrolled in a college in New Jersey and have at least a 3.2 GPA.
- The Wells Fargo Scholarship for Students with Disabilities - If you are a student with a mental and physical disability, there is due assistance that may last up to seven years, depending on the course and severity of a student’s case.
- The Microsoft disAbility Scholarship - If you are planning to connect your life with a degree in engineering, computer science, programming, or information systems, there is a $5,000 scholarship for those who have mental disabilities and require financial help to study and attend college.
- The JED Student Voice Scholarship Award - A unique scholarship that goes up to $3,000 and deals with the subject of mental illnesses and the establishment of dialogue concerning the topic of such disability. It aims to break down the stereotypes with regard to such students.
- The Andrew Q. Peschard Memorial Scholarship - Offered to students with mental disorders. The most important part of it is writing a personal letter and telling about one’s life to explain the hardships related to living with your condition.
- The Heroes Fund Scholarship - As the name implies, it is meant for the students who have been traumatized during their army service. If a recipient has the Purple Heart, has a disability status, PTSD disorder, or any condition related to combat mental injuries, one is eligible. It also relates to those cases when a student is a spouse of a soldier who has been killed in the line of duty.
- The Google Lime Scholarship Award - A good choice for computer science students. You can receive up to $10,000 if you have a visible or invisible mental disorder that impacts one or more major activities on a daily basis. If you have a passion for computer science and technology, do not hesitate to apply!
No Place for Discrimination
We should realize that pretty much every single person deals with a mental health issue at least once in their lifetime. Our emotional well-being is a crucial part of our lives. There are plenty of institutions, support groups and resources both on campus and in local communities to help students with mental issues to cope with their condition. Many organizations offer scholarships to help them pay for college and avoid student debt. Part of them deals with any mental issue, the rest is designated for those who experience a specific ailment but whatever the situation is the US education system is expanding opportunities to provide every student a suitable environment to live and learn