Mental health issues have become a big concern for employers relative to the stigma that still exists around this invisible disability and that when it is disclosed, ensuring they are providing the appropriate accommodations while balancing the needs of the entire team or organization. It is also a disability that seems to be on the rise. It appears that colleges and universities are experiencing much of the same issues with schools seeing a rise in the number of students registering with their disability offices dues to psychological/mental health issues. At Pace University in New York, the number of requests for accommodations from students with disabilities related to psychological disorders tripled in the last three years. In general, colleges say they're seeing more students on campus with psychiatric illnesses. About 11.6% of college students were diagnosed or treated for anxiety in the last year, and 10.7% were diagnosed or treated for depression, according to a survey of more than 100,000 students at 129 schools conducted by the American College Health Association. There is also the issue of accommodations. Some formal accommodations, like additional test time, are fairly standard across universities but, schools diverge widely on other accommodations such as flexibility with assignment deadlines, class attendance and participation. One of the biggest concerns for these schools is that since the primary goal of college is to prepare students for the working world, if they provide too much support, that when they hit the real world of work and don’t receive that same level of support, they could be setting themselves up to fail. Mental health professionals say that many mental illnesses, particularly depression, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia, emerge during late adolescence and can have serious academic and employment consequences because they affect concentration, sleep and cognitive processing. So what to do? Springboard would like to hear from you.
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