A new study by Intelligent.com has found that 8 out of 10 (80 percent) Americans favor schools providing special accommodations for students with mental health concerns.
Nearly 85 percent of 1,250 adults surveyed said those diagnosed with depression should qualify for extra leave, followed by anxiety (60 percent) and stress (57 percent).
Mental health specialist Dr. Brittany Fieri stated how the transition to higher education could be a potential trigger for many students, so it is essential schools offer a variety of support systems.
“Accommodations like added time and excused absences can greatly help college students, but I also believe it doesn’t stop there,” Fieri says. She believes colleges can help students in ways that are not just “person-specific.” “Faculty and staff should take the time to get to know students and what they need in order to succeed,” Fieri added.
The dialogue around mental health has gathered momentum ever since in-person classes resumed this fall. To reduce stress triggered by this transition, universities granted mental health leave, and parents were asked to monitor their children once campuses reopened.
The study revealed that 86 percent of Americans also support extended deadlines since mental health challenges can make it difficult to function properly. Despite these challenges, nearly 50 percent of mental health advocates want students to continue pursuing higher education, and 38 percent want to create an equal playing field among all students.
Among those who oppose special accommodation for students with mental illnesses, 54 percent said students should be accustomed to facing adversities, while 17 percent don’t believe such issues exist. Others feel preferential treatment for students with mental health challenges would make them weaker.
The study also found that those from 18-24 were more likely to suffer from anxiety than those over the age of 25. The 18-25 age group is also more likely to say stress should qualify students for accommodations.
“Mental health is the same as physical health and should be recognized as such in an academic setting,” mental health specialist Ami Pritchett said. “If college students are feeling so overwhelmed, stressed, anxious or depressed that they need a day off from school to reset, then they absolutely should have this option.”