With more and more teens becoming diagnosed with a variety of mental conditions, the question that parents and institutions alike should ask is whether or not these colleges and universities are well-equipped and prepared to tend to these student’s special needs.
Most freshmen step into college brimming with positivity and excitement-, but they still fear that their ADHD or OCD will return to throw a wrench in their studies. What’s more, this time they are on their own, with no parents around to help them cope with the symptoms. Colleges and universities must therefore have adequate facilities to help mentally-challenged students and, more importantly, prevent untoward incidents.
Nance Roy, clinical director for the Jed Foundation, a New York-based nonprofit advocate of emotional health, says college planning with mental health requires a few extra steps. For instance, after the child chooses his or her college or university, parents should contact its counseling office to discuss about the child’s special needs.
Deadlines, homesickness, and finances, among others, can take their mental toll on students. According to a 2011 survey by the American College Health Association (ACHA), half of college students felt overwhelming anxiety for the past 12 months of college life. It pushes them to vices like alcohol, which students report using following their distress.
From a financial standpoint, the independence that college life often promises can be a cost trap for students. Statistics show that the costs for housing, transportation, and reading materials alone surpass the cost of tuition every year, much less if the student has a mental condition. As a result, more students have been living at home with their folks these past few years.
College Choice Affected
Although location is a factor in choosing a college, Fastweb editor Elizabeth Hoyt says it’s not a standalone consideration. There are benefits in living close to the college, but they’re not worth risking over the choice of career, especially for the mentally-challenged.
As long as the college or university provides everything a student—healthy or with a preexisting condition—needs, location and cost should be secondary. For such items, there are qualified college financial planning consultants like John McDonough of the Studemont Group College Funding Solutions, LLC who can draw up a sound college plan, from finances to admission.
Whether or not to live an independent life come college is the call of the incoming freshman. Don’t let the stereotypes of college life affect your decision. Be prepared for the things to come the moment you step into a new chapter in your life. Proper financial planning for college goes a long way.
(Source: “College life with mental illness takes extra planning,” Chicago Tribune [c/o Detroit Free Press], March 4, 2015)