Early Years (FD) and Mental Health Difficulties

Challenges – this link takes you to more specific challenges association with learning.


Brief description of Mental Health Difficulties

The term mental health describes a sense of well being. It implies the capacity to live in a resourceful and fulfilling manner, having the resilience to deal with the challenges and obstacles that life and studying present.

Depression, stress and anxiety are the most common types of mental illness experienced by students, and it is common for students to lack confidence and have low self-esteem despite having the same full range of intellectual abilities as the population as a whole.

Learning Support (FD) and Mental Health Difficulties

Challenges – this link takes you to more specific challenges association with learning.


Brief description of Mental Health Difficulties

The term mental health describes a sense of well being. It implies the capacity to live in a resourceful and fulfilling manner, having the resilience to deal with the challenges and obstacles that life and studying present.

Depression, stress and anxiety are the most common types of mental illness experienced by students, and it is common for students to lack confidence and have low self-esteem despite having the same full range of intellectual abilities as the population as a whole.

Education Studies and Mental Health Difficulties

Challenges – this link takes you to more specific challenges association with learning.


Brief description of Mental Health Difficulties

The term mental health describes a sense of well being. It implies the capacity to live in a resourceful and fulfilling manner, having the resilience to deal with the challenges and obstacles that life and studying present.

Depression, stress and anxiety are the most common types of mental illness experienced by students, and it is common for students to lack confidence and have low self-esteem despite having the same full range of intellectual abilities as the population as a whole.

Psychology and Mental Health Difficulties

Challenges – this link takes you to more specific challenges association with learning.


Brief description of Mental Health Difficulties

The term mental health describes a sense of well being. It implies the capacity to live in a resourceful and fulfilling manner, having the resilience to deal with the challenges and obstacles that life and studying present.

Depression, stress and anxiety are the most common types of mental illness experienced by students, and it is common for students to lack confidence and have low self-esteem despite having the same full range of intellectual abilities as the population as a whole.

Sociology and Mental Health Difficulties

Challenges – this link takes you to more specific challenges association with learning.


Brief description of Mental Health Difficulties

The term mental health describes a sense of well being. It implies the capacity to live in a resourceful and fulfilling manner, having the resilience to deal with the challenges and obstacles that life and studying present.

Depression, stress and anxiety are the most common types of mental illness experienced by students, and it is common for students to lack confidence and have low self-esteem despite having the same full range of intellectual abilities as the population as a whole.

History and Mental Health Difficulties

Challenges – this link takes you to more specific challenges association with learning.


Brief description of Mental Health Difficulties

The term mental health describes a sense of well being. It implies the capacity to live in a resourceful and fulfilling manner, having the resilience to deal with the challenges and obstacles that life and studying present.

Depression, stress and anxiety are the most common types of mental illness experienced by students, and it is common for students to lack confidence and have low self-esteem despite having the same full range of intellectual abilities as the population as a whole.

General Business and Management and Mental Health Difficulties

Challenges – this link takes you to more specific challenges association with learning.


Brief description of Mental Health Difficulties

The term mental health describes a sense of well being. It implies the capacity to live in a resourceful and fulfilling manner, having the resilience to deal with the challenges and obstacles that life and studying present.

Depression, stress and anxiety are the most common types of mental illness experienced by students, and it is common for students to lack confidence and have low self-esteem despite having the same full range of intellectual abilities as the population as a whole.

Manufacturing Management (FD) and Mental Health Difficulties

Challenges – this link takes you to more specific challenges association with learning.


Brief description of Mental Health Difficulties

The term mental health describes a sense of well being. It implies the capacity to live in a resourceful and fulfilling manner, having the resilience to deal with the challenges and obstacles that life and studying present.

Depression, stress and anxiety are the most common types of mental illness experienced by students, and it is common for students to lack confidence and have low self-esteem despite having the same full range of intellectual abilities as the population as a whole.

International Foundation Diploma and Mental Health Difficulties

Challenges – this link takes you to more specific challenges association with learning.


Brief description of Mental Health Difficulties

The term mental health describes a sense of well being. It implies the capacity to live in a resourceful and fulfilling manner, having the resilience to deal with the challenges and obstacles that life and studying present.

Depression, stress and anxiety are the most common types of mental illness experienced by students, and it is common for students to lack confidence and have low self-esteem despite having the same full range of intellectual abilities as the population as a whole.

Biosciences and Mental Health Difficulties

Challenges – this link takes you to more specific challenges association with learning.


Brief description of Mental Health Difficulties

The term mental health describes a sense of well being. It implies the capacity to live in a resourceful and fulfilling manner, having the resilience to deal with the challenges and obstacles that life and studying present.

Depression, stress and anxiety are the most common types of mental illness experienced by students, and it is common for students to lack confidence and have low self-esteem despite having the same full range of intellectual abilities as the population as a whole.

Geography and Mental Health Difficulties

Challenges – this link takes you to more specific challenges association with learning.


Brief description of Mental Health Difficulties

The term mental health describes a sense of well being. It implies the capacity to live in a resourceful and fulfilling manner, having the resilience to deal with the challenges and obstacles that life and studying present.

Depression, stress and anxiety are the most common types of mental illness experienced by students, and it is common for students to lack confidence and have low self-esteem despite having the same full range of intellectual abilities as the population as a whole.

For further details concerning geography and students with mental health difficulties see Leach, J. and Birnie, J. (2006), Delivering Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences at HE: including students with mental health difficulties: Draft Document. The Geography Disciplines Network (GDN) Inclusive Curriculum Project (ICP), HEFCE Project, University of Gloucestershire, http://www2.glos.ac.uk/gdn/icp/imental.pdf(accessed March 2008).

Mental Health Difficulties

Challenges and Subjects – this link takes you to challenges and subjects associated with this disability.


Brief description of Mental Health Difficulties

The term mental health describes a sense of well being. It implies the capacity to live in a resourceful and fulfilling manner, having the resilience to deal with the challenges and obstacles that life and studying present.

Depression, stress and anxiety are the most common types of mental illness experienced by students. It is common for students to lack confidence and have low self-esteem despite having the same full range of intellectual abilities as the population as a whole.

Detailed description of Mental Health Difficulties

Definition of Mental Health Difficulties and Mental Illness as included in AMOSSHE Publication Students with Mental Health Difficulties, 2002

  • Those with a pre-diagnosed psychiatric condition for which the person may, or may not, be receiving medical or psychological treatment. For such individuals the difficulties arise when their condition becomes unstable in some way and symptoms recur, which may be as a result of external factors or changes in response to treatment.
  • Those without any diagnosed condition who experience the onset of emotional or psychological difficulties which significantly affect their capacity to function. These may be a temporary reaction to a painful event, being under external pressure of some sort, induced by physiological factors such as use of drugs, lack of sleep, change in diet or physical illness, or they may signal the onset of a psychiatric condition.
Depression

Indicators of depression amongst students may include: low mood, lack of motivation, sense of emptiness, withdrawal, change of appetite, self neglect, self loathing, or thoughts of hurting or killing oneself. However, it should be recognised that many people experience some of these symptoms at some points in their lives, indeed some are typical reactions to certain circumstances.

The degree of severity is reflected by the intensity of symptoms and the impact on the individual’s capacity to function. For example one person feeling depressed may mean feeling temporarily low in mood whereas someone else may use this term when they are completely debilitated and unable to take care of basic personal physical needs.

Anxiety

Student life is a transitional period and it can cause a lot of anxiety. Symptoms of anxiety can include: agitation, disturbed sleep, change of appetite, headaches, digestive difficulties or panic attacks. These symptoms are easily mistaken by anxious people for evidence of serious physical illness – their worry about this can make the symptoms even worse.

Sudden unexpected surges of anxiety are called panic, and usually lead to the person having to quickly get out of whatever situation they happen to be in. Anxiety and panic are often accompanied by feelings of depression.

Stress

There are many ordinary situations that can make students feel stressed for periods of time. For example, if workload is allowed to build up, during exam preparation or during a work placement.

The effects of stress depend on the severity, the length of time it goes on for and the individual concerned. How an individual deals with stress depends on their personality, ability to cope with situations, and whether there is someone supportive to talk to.

Characteristics Impacting on Learning and Teaching

Students with mental health difficulties may experience greater anxieties about learning that other students. Some may take medication that affects their concentration, memory and their ability to participate. Short-term memory may be especially affected.

For many students their mental health may be variable, with good and bad days. This may affect attendance, punctuality and behaviour. Some students may be unable to engage in the learning process until relevant emotional issues are resolved. Progress will be variable, and regression can be common. Success can mean that some students may be reluctant to move on.

Discussion of learning support needs should not involve diagnosis or labelling. It is not necessary to do either in order to ask the student what might assist them. The educational experience may be the first opportunity a student with a history of mental health difficulties has had to put labels aside and concentrate on their academic potential.

People with mental health difficulties can often lack confidence, if tutors can recognise this and promote the student’s self esteem; it will have a positive outcome in terms of effective learning.

Group Work

Problems may arise in a group situation for students with mental health difficulties including prejudice from other group members, communication difficulties or incompatible working practices, especially as some students with mental health difficulties may appear withdrawn or disruptive.

As an important component of many group activities is to devolve responsibility and control to students. Tutors may be concerned that their scope for intervention and to take measures to include all students is necessarily compromised. To mitigate this, systems to encourage groups to take responsibility for the inclusion of all students need to be in place.

Examinations/Assessment

Given that periods of examination and assessment are generally the most stressful experiences for students, those with mental health difficulties may need special support at such times. This needs to be discussed and agreed with the student as early as possible.

When accommodations are used or modifications made to assessment, educational providers will also be concerned to ensure parity between disabled students and their non-disabled peers. It is always useful to consider carefully the core requirements of the course and the role assessment plays within it.

Mental Health Difficulties

For further information on mental health difficulties, please see the following external links and references:

If you would like to recommend any links to be added to this page please email s.smith@worc.ac.uk 


Counselling Directory http://www.counselling-directory.org.uk   This site provides a counselling support network enabling those in distress to find a counsellor close to them who is appropriate for their needs. This is a free, confidential service. The website contains a number of sections on emotional disorders (types of distress section) and provides some useful statistics.

The Learning Needs of Young Adults with Mental Health Difficulties https://www.nice.org.uk/guidance/ng54/resources/mental-health-problems-in-people-with-learning-disabilities-prevention-assessment-and-management-pdf-1837513295557.

Mental Health Foundation http://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/.

MIND (National Association for Mental Health) http://www.mind.org.uk/.

National Institute for Mental Health  https://www.nimh.nih.gov/index.shtml

Online Dictionary of Mental Health https://www.networktherapy.com/library/dictionary.asp#B

Rethink http://www.rethink.org/index.html.

Student Mental Health: Planning, Guidance and Training http://www.studentmentalhealth.org.uk/.

World Health Organisation https://www.who.int/

 

Hospitality, Leisure, Sport and Tourism and Mental Health Difficulties

Challenges – this link takes you to more specific challenges association with learning.


Brief description of Mental Health Difficulties

The term mental health describes a sense of well being. It implies the capacity to live in a resourceful and fulfilling manner, having the resilience to deal with the challenges and obstacles that life and studying present.

Depression, stress and anxiety are the most common types of mental illness experienced by students, and it is common for students to lack confidence and have low self-esteem despite having the same full range of intellectual abilities as the population as a whole.

Hospitality, Leisure, Sport & Tourism and Students with Mental Health Difficulties

Sports Practical / Coaching and Mental Health Issues

Sport and recreation can play a huge part in the physical and mental well-being of people with mental health difficulties. "Practically all the major games and sports can be played with success by people with mental health difficulties, provided the required skills are sufficiently mastered and the appropriate adaptations are made. It is important for the teacher / coach to know the up-to-date rules of any game and sport that is to be taught, since the ultimate aim is to play the game to the official rules. However, players with mental health difficulties should never be thrust into an activity or game before they are ready for it – ready mentally as well as physically, socially and emotionally." (Latto and Norrice, 1989).

Games and sports can be valuable because they:

  • train dexterity and co-ordination, particularly of the hand and eye.
  • develop the necessary skills which serve as training for all games and sports such as football, netball, unihoc, athletics, badminton, bowls, etc.
  • channel excess energy into purposeful skills and provide an outlet for repressed emotions.
  • stimulate the less active to do more.
  • help to develop alertness, perseverance, self-control, optimism, courage and confidence.
  • increase the will and the ability to play to the rules, to be a good loser and to co-operate with others.
  • create opportunities for competition of various types.
  • give the players responsibilities, e.g. helping with the organisation and care of equipment, leading a team, training them to take care of their own personal sportswear.

Prior to planning a games session, it may be worth considering:

  • the physical and mental abilities, likes and dislikes and the difficulties of the group of players.
  • the facilities – indoor and outdoor – the size and type of the surface and the nature of the playing space.
  • what equipment is available and is it safe and in good repair?
  • any hazards, e.g. low ceiling lights, glass windows, unstacked chairs and outdoor obstructions such as trees, posts and broken glass.
  • the play area and the markings within it – the dimensions will naturally influence the number of players taking part and the type of equipment being used.
  • the playing area must be contained and be clear of obstacles if ballgames are to be played. If the ball is lost under obstacles, the game stops and the aim of continuous activity is defeated.

This information is taken from the Staffordshire University Strand 2 project SIDE-STeP (Staffordshire Inclusive Disability Education – Sport TEaching Practice) http://crwnpro2.staffs.ac.uk/sidestep/

Mathematics, Statistics and Operational Research and Mental Health Difficulties

Challenges – this link takes you to more specific challenges association with learning.


Brief description of Mental Health Difficulties

The term mental health describes a sense of well being. It implies the capacity to live in a resourceful and fulfilling manner, having the resilience to deal with the challenges and obstacles that life and studying present.

Depression, stress and anxiety are the most common types of mental illness experienced by students, and it is common for students to lack confidence and have low self-esteem despite having the same full range of intellectual abilities as the population as a whole.

Music and Mental Health Difficulties

Challenges – this link takes you to more specific challenges association with learning.


Brief description of Mental Health Difficulties

The term mental health describes a sense of well being. It implies the capacity to live in a resourceful and fulfilling manner, having the resilience to deal with the challenges and obstacles that life and studying present.

Depression, stress and anxiety are the most common types of mental illness experienced by students, and it is common for students to lack confidence and have low self-esteem despite having the same full range of intellectual abilities as the population as a whole.

 

Nursing and Mental Health Difficulties

Challenges – this link takes you to more specific challenges association with learning.


Brief description of Mental Health Difficulties

The term mental health describes a sense of well being. It implies the capacity to live in a resourceful and fulfilling manner, having the resilience to deal with the challenges and obstacles that life and studying present.

Depression, stress and anxiety are the most common types of mental illness experienced by students, and it is common for students to lack confidence and have low self-esteem despite having the same full range of intellectual abilities as the population as a whole.

Nursing and Students with Mental Health Difficulties

The mental health of students in the caring and related professions has attracted particular concern because of their future potential impact on others. Although a doctor, nurse, social worker or teacher with psychiatric problems is much more likely to represent a risk to themselves, the spectre of potential harm to patients, clients or pupils has led to strict protocols for the management of students of these professions who develop mental health problems.

Medical Education

Medical students are the most frequently studied of the health care professions. Although relatively few have serious mental illnesses, studies have shown that medical students report higher levels of psychological symptoms than the general population and that levels of distress increase progressively during the course of medical studies. Roberts et al (2001) found that a quarter of a large sample of US medical students suffered symptoms of mental ill health. Students perceived the need for personal health care, but ‘feared reprisal from seeking help’.

Medical practice demands the highest standards of performance and conduct. The study and practice of medicine is stressful, however, and both medical students and doctors are vulnerable to mental health problems, especially anxiety, depression and substance misuse. There might be an association in some cases between stress, mental ill health, and personal or professional misconduct.

In the USA and Canada, health promotion programmes for medical students have been established to reduce the effects of stress (Wolf & Scurria, 1995). ‘Wellness electives’ have been shown to reduce stress and improve coping strategies. In London, the Royal Free and University College Medical School has developed a peer tutoring project, academic advisers meet students several times a year and clinical advisers operate walk-in surgeries to track student progress.

Medical education involves much more than the acquisition of knowledge and skills. It involves development of ethical understanding and professional responsibility. The General Medical Council’s revised framework for medical education, Tomorrow’s Doctors (General Medical Council, 2002a), emphasises the acquisition and demonstration of the attitudes necessary for achievement of high standards of medical practice, including in relation to the doctor’s own personal development. This implies the need for medical students and doctors to be capable of applying their knowledge and understanding to their own attitudes and behaviours.

Mental Health Screening and Nurse Training

The Clothier Report, an independent inquiry into the deaths and injuries caused by children’s nurse Beverly Allitt, recommended stricter criteria for selection to and progress in nurse training (Clother et al, 1994). Eight of the report’s 12 recommendations relate to tougher screening procedures. It endorses the advice of the Chairman of the Association of NHS Occupational Physicians, who suggested ‘excessive absence through sickness, excessive use of counselling or medical facilities, or self-harming behaviour such as attempted suicide, self-laceration or eating disorder are better guides than psychological testing’. It was also stated that ‘applicants who show one or more of these patterns should not be accepted for training until they have shown the ability to live an independent life without professional support and have been in stable employment for at least 2 years’.

These stringent criteria might make sense if the clinical picture is indicative of a severe and potentially dangerous personality disorder, but interpretation of any exclusion protocol will need to take into account the requirements of the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 as it now applies to higher education.

Although the Royal College of Nursing supported the Clothier Report’s recommendations in general, it has published health assessment advice for the profession to help address these concerns. The College acknowledges that there are limitations to health assessments, but asserts that the aim is to ensure that the applicant is fit to carry out their job without a significant risk to their own health and safety or that of the patient. The College advises that health assessments should:

  • only be carried out by qualified occupational health nurses and physicians
  • be careful with regard to the confidential nature of the information disclosed
  • not exclude an applicant on the basis of information supplied on a questionnaire alone
  • allow a clear appeals procedure and an independent second opinion.

Following a later inquiry into the actions of another nurse,  the Bullock Report advocated that the recommendations of the Clothier Report be extended to cover all health care professions (Bullock, 1997). An appendix to the report sets out an exhaustive questionnaire which, although it could throw up false positives, has been adopted by other occupational health services. Subsequently on the 17th November 2005 Amanda Jenkinson was totally exonerated by the Court of Appeal, she was cleared of all wrong doing by the court.

If the consequence of disclosing a mental health problem such as an eating disorder was inevitable exclusion from training in a health profession, it could deter individuals from seeking help from either professional agencies or self-help groups. Any attempt by the potential student to hide a significant mental health problem, however, could be viewed as a dishonesty unworthy of a responsible professional person. Most mental health problems, including personality disorders and substance misuse, are treatable if detected early and addressed constructively. Screening and risk assessment in the higher education context needs to be highly sophisticated and mindful of the interests and rights of the potential student.

Confidentiality

These expectations in relation to selection, education and registration highlight the dilemmas surrounding confidentiality in relation to health care students with mental health problems. The General Medical Council’s expectations of doctors who treat medical students with serious mental illnesses are quite clear: disclosure of the student’s illness may be necessary in the public interest. ‘Doctors should not disclose information, without the student’s consent, unless the risk posed to patients is so serious that it outweighs the student’s right to privacy’ (General Medical Council, 2002b: paragraph 5, ‘Student Health and Conduct’). The Student’s consent for disclosure should be sought by the responsible doctor, of course; but if it is refused, the student may have to be informed that disclosure is unavoidable. University counsellors and non-medical academic staff are not bound by the General Medical Council’s code, but might appropriately follow its principles. All who work with students who present with mental health problems might be encouraged to consult with colleagues about any potential overriding of confidentiality.

Information taken from The Mental Health of Students in Higher Education. Council Report CR112. The Royal College of Psychiatrists: London, January 2003. http://www.rcpsych.ac.uk/Publications/cr/cr112.htm

 

Physiotherapy and Mental Health Difficulties

Challenges – this link takes you to more specific challenges associated with learning.


Brief description of Mental Health Difficulties

The term mental health describes a sense of well being. It implies the capacity to live in a resourceful and fulfilling manner, having the resilience to deal with the challenges and obstacles that life and studying present.

Depression, stress and anxiety are the most common types of mental illness experienced by students, and it is common for students to lack confidence and have low self-esteem despite having the same full range of intellectual abilities as the population as a whole.

Physiotherapy and Students with Mental Health Difficulties

Mental health difficulty is an umbrella term. It is used to refer to any difficulties experienced as a result of diagnosed mental health conditions. At present the DDA does not cover any impairment resulting from or consisting of a mental health difficulty that is not a well-recognised clinical entity i.e. one that is recognised by a ‘respected body of medical opinion’.

As will all other disabilities, students with mental health difficulties span the same spectrum as do their non disabled peers. Many people experience symptoms of mental distress at some point in their lives. These symptoms may range from feeling extreme anxiety of having a strong dislike of spiders through to severe paranoia. At one end of this continuum the person’s everyday functioning is not significantly affected; at the other end the person may need to take some time out from everyday activities and could require long term medical management.

Mental Health Difficulties and the NHS Approach

‘Mental Health and Employment in the NHS’ (DoH 2002) cites a number of reasons why it might be useful to include in the workforce, people who have had or who continue to experience mental health difficulties:

  • Ensuring that the above people are accommodated in the workforce can enhance the quality of mental health services offered.
  • They have a wealth of experience and expertise in living with and managing with such problems. This can prove useful to clinical colleagues who have not experienced such difficulties.
  • Researchers have described such people as being best placed to understand the needs of patients due to their own personal experience.
  • It increases the skill mix of staff and these individuals act as important role model for both clients and staff.
  • The NHS is a major employer and should be seen to give a lead in the employment of people with disabilities.
  • Retaining staff avoids the cost of replacing them.
  • Increasing the numbers of disabled staff is a practical way to demonstrate the NHS’s commitment and openness to utilising the skills that people with mental health difficulties can bring into the workplace. This helps to develop a culture that is more open and valuing, building staff confidence and the organisation’s ability to identify and support staff earlier. Both of these factors may reduce stress and actually prevent some instances of mental distress.

Some facts:

  • Many people who have experience of mental health difficulties can successfully gain and sustain employment if the appropriate help and support are available.
  • Research suggests that with appropriate support, staff with mental health difficulties, on average, take less time off sick than other staff.
  • Having mental health difficulties does not necessarily mean that the skills/qualifications a person possesses are lower, or that expectations of performance are reduced.
  • Most people who have experienced mental health difficulties are not, and never have been, violent and present no risk to anyone else.
  • The discrimination typically experienced by people with mental health difficulties leads to a climate where secrecy is encouraged. Many people prefer to deny that they have them (DoH 2002).
Possible Indications of Mental Health Difficulties

Students with mental health difficulties may be undergoing counselling or other intervention and/or may be on medication. They may show no signs of mental distress in interaction with staff or their peers.

There are students in rather different situations, however, who may exhibit behaviour that indicates a level of mental distress, for example:

  • Those who have difficulty in managing that distress.
  • Those who are subjected to additional levels of stress.
  • Those who have chosen not to access available support mechanisms.
  • Those who have not appreciated that they have difficulties.
  • Those whose mental distress is only just manifesting itself (e.g. for students going from the college environment to the more demanding clinical situation may precipitate the onset of distress).

There are a number of areas where adjustments may need to be implemented or the approach may need to be modified in order to enable full participation, particularly in clinical placements. These should be discussed and negotiated by the student and Clinical Educator. Any specific adjustments should be recorded and signed by all parties. These arrangements will be different for each individual.

As with all other disabilities, a student’s decision to disclose information about his or her mental health difficulty is purely personal. It is recommended that Clinical Educators should enquire of students on first contact whether they have any support needs, so indicating an open and non-judgmental approach within the department. 

 

Social Work and Mental Health Difficulties

Challenges – this link takes you to more specific challenges association with learning.


Brief description of Mental Health Difficulties

The term mental health describes a sense of well being. It implies the capacity to live in a resourceful and fulfilling manner, having the resilience to deal with the challenges and obstacles that life and studying present.

Depression, stress and anxiety are the most common types of mental illness experienced by students, and it is common for students to lack confidence and have low self-esteem despite having the same full range of intellectual abilities as the population as a whole.

Social Work and Students with Mental Health Difficulties

It is clear that HEI staff in professional education operate in a context of concern about professional suitability to a far greater extent than colleagues in non-vocational academic disciplines. Academic staff teaching on professional education programmes for nurses, teachers and social workers are far more likely than any other group of lecturers to report experiencing role confusion as personal supervisors and they describe feeling torn between their desire to support the student and their professional responsibilities.

Policy and professional concerns about the potential detrimental impact of students with mental health problems achieving professional status have been expressed at a number of levels. However, may such professional programmes see it as advantageous to support qualification and employment for those with mental health problems since they are in a unique position to offer service users’ positive role models. They may be able to offer their future clients empathy and understanding derived from personal experience and they may be able to feed their experience as service users back into the delivery and development of services. More broadly, the caring professions, particularly social work, have been keen to embrace policies that are non-discriminatory and which advocate a philosophy of equal opportunities for both services users and staff.

Staff engaged in professional training programmes have also voiced concerns about support systems for students on placement. Students too, acknowledge that these can be stressful times. Again, matters of confidentiality are important here and this issue is particularly salient in professional education. Guidance on confidentiality for staff is achieving further prominence in the context of the Human Rights Act and it may be appropriate for HEIs to offer some strategies for staff and explanations to students as to what they can expect from the institution.

Staff in professional education also raise questions about admission and selection criteria. Whilst self-disclosure offers a means by which students with pre-existing mental health difficulties can make these known at an early stage, evidence from staff and students confirms that this is sometimes regarded as problematic for those entering the caring professions. Professional training courses are recommended to develop some explicit material for those considering the caring professions and disseminate it through careers and Learning and Skills Council outlets. Similarly, the process of application and interview in professional programmes should reflect and communicate an understanding of disability, including mental health. Discussions with employers, through the new Training Organisation for the Personal Social Services (TOPPS), could be productive in developing clear understandings of what is communicated to applicants.

Stanley, N. , Manthorpe, J. and Bradley, G. (2000) Responding Effectively to Student’s Mental Health Needs: Project Report. Hull : The University of Hull.

 

Veterinary Science and Mental Health Difficulties

Challenges – this link takes you to more specific challenges association with learning.


Brief description of Mental Health Difficulties

The term mental health describes a sense of well being. It implies the capacity to live in a resourceful and fulfilling manner, having the resilience to deal with the challenges and obstacles that life and studying present.

Depression, stress and anxiety are the most common types of mental illness experienced by students, and it is common for students to lack confidence and have low self-esteem despite having the same full range of intellectual abilities as the population as a whole.

Veterinary Science and Students with Mental Health Difficulties

Students with a wide range of disabilities or health conditions can achieve the required standards of knowledge and skills to enable them to practise as veterinary surgeons, but it needs to be recognised that each case is different and has to be viewed on its individual merits. The safety of patients, the public and other colleagues must always take priority.

When considering applicants with mental health problems such as serious depressive illness, or the position of students who develop such problems during their time as undergraduates, it must be borne in mind that studying on the veterinary course and working in the veterinary profession is a stressful undertaking. Although a history of mental illness would not necessarily preclude admission, it is advisable for such candidates to be the subject of a risk assessment. In the context of the ready availability of drugs to a veterinary surgeon, and in a profession with a higher than average suicide rate, a history of mental illness could be grounds for not admitting an applicant onto the course whether there is a perceived danger to themselves and others.

Drug Abuse

A history of drug abuse could render an individual unable to practise and the university could therefore be justified in refusing to admit, or not allowing a student with a drug problem to graduate with the registerable veterinary degree. Mental impairments as a result of drug abuse could cause significant difficulties for the individual in coping with the veterinary degree course as well as posing a danger to others.

Anorexia

One of the problems often associated with anorexia is the sufferer’s inability to admit to the condition or accept treatment. Veterinary students must develop a capacity for self-audit and a person who is unable to admit to a condition such as severe anorexia and accept the necessary treatment would not meet this competence. Physical problems and lack of strength and stamina associated with the condition would also be likely to make an applicant unsuitable for the course. However, lack of strength alone would probably be insufficient grounds for rejection. Documented severe anorexia that has not proved amenable to treatment could provide grounds for non-admission.

 

Computing and Mental Health Difficulties

Challenges – this link takes you to more specific challenges association with learning.


Brief description of Mental Health Difficulties

The term mental health describes a sense of well being. It implies the capacity to live in a resourceful and fulfilling manner, having the resilience to deal with the challenges and obstacles that life and studying present.

Depression, stress and anxiety are the most common types of mental illness experienced by students, and it is common for students to lack confidence and have low self-esteem despite having the same full range of intellectual abilities as the population as a whole.

 

Dance, Drama and Performance and Mental Health Difficulties

Challenges – this link takes you to more specific challenges association with learning.


Brief description of Mental Health Difficulties

The term mental health describes a sense of well being. It implies the capacity to live in a resourceful and fulfilling manner, having the resilience to deal with the challenges and obstacles that life and studying present.

Depression, stress and anxiety are the most common types of mental illness experienced by students, and it is common for students to lack confidence and have low self-esteem despite having the same full range of intellectual abilities as the population as a whole.

English and Mental Health Difficulties

Challenges – this link takes you to more specific challenges association with learning.


Brief description of Mental Health Difficulties

The term mental health describes a sense of well being. It implies the capacity to live in a resourceful and fulfilling manner, having the resilience to deal with the challenges and obstacles that life and studying present.

Depression, stress and anxiety are the most common types of mental illness experienced by students, and it is common for students to lack confidence and have low self-esteem despite having the same full range of intellectual abilities as the population as a whole.