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    Hi all,

    I know there is lots of information out there but I am still a bit confused so bear with me.

    Firstly, I have just applied for student finance and I am hoping to apply for DSA too. I see some people are already having assessments, so am I too late?

    I am going to apply for mental health issues. I do not have a clear diagnosis (want to wait longer before making a final diagnosis) but there have been talks of cyclothymia / bipolar II rapid cycling , and a private psychiatrist said he strongly suspected bipolar II RC.

    My main issue is mood instability. It really affects my concentration - when I am low, my depressive thoughts mean its difficult for me to concentrate and when I am manic, my highs mean I jump from idea to idea and its very difficult to concentrate as well. I also have difficulty with time management when I am in a bad episode, and general functioning, which makes it hard to make decisions and complete work on time.

    I feel like a bit of a fraud applying, as I did get good A levels while at the beginning of being ill, but I am really scared that this will affect me at uni.

    I am basically looking for advice for what to write in the box where it asks you to describe your condition. Also, should I get a letter from my GP or a psychiatrist (does it matter who it is from?)

    Thanks.
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    Hiya

    I'm very new to the whole DSA thing so I don't know huge amounts about it. I also don't have a clear diagnosis (or if there is one, I'm not being told what it is!). I used a psychiatrist's letter for medical evidence and it sounds like in your case a letter from a psychiatrist might be more informative than one from a GP. (Maybe I'm being harsh but certainly my GPs know about mental health but not the ins and outs.)

    I wasn't entirely sure what to put in the "describe your condition" box but ended up just putting the main symptoms I have (there are quite a few, so it took up all the space ) :yes:
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    (Original post by paper-wings)
    Firstly, I have just applied for student finance and I am hoping to apply for DSA too. I see some people are already having assessments, so am I too late?
    It is never really too late. You can apply the week before you start university if you want, or any time during your degree. It is recommended you apply as early as possible though as the procedure (getting an assessment, report being produced, then waiting for equipment to arrive) can take up to a couple of months or so. So if you want the support in time for starting university then apply as soon as possible. At this stage it is not too late. I'm assuming you're starting in September/October so have six months to go.

    I feel like a bit of a fraud applying, as I did get good A levels while at the beginning of being ill, but I am really scared that this will affect me at uni.
    Don't. Although you achieved good A-levels, additional support could have made things less stressful. Getting this support is all about making your experience at university less stressful and allowing you to meet your potential.

    I am basically looking for advice for what to write in the box where it asks you to describe your condition.
    As far as giving a label then "mood disorder" would seem sufficient for now. If any further information is required then just mention your episodes of depression and mania which can cause problems with concentration and motivation.

    Also, should I get a letter from my GP or a psychiatrist (does it matter who it is from?)

    Thanks.
    You will need medical evidence, yes, ideally from a specialist (in your case the psychiatrist) as he or she will be able to write in more detail and a letter from a specialist might carry more weight.
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    I think it's a joke how some people abuse the DSA system.
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    What would you use any money awarded to you for? I applied for the allowance so i could make use of the uni's learning support worker type person, they required anyone using that help to be in receipt of the allowance.
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    (Original post by niceday)
    I think it's a joke how some people abuse the DSA system.
    Please don't make posts which are not constructive. Especially posts which risk derailing a thread, one very important to the OP, who may be discouraged from applying for DSA and receiving support based on posts like yours. This is neither the time nor the place.
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    I applied for it during my course, and was given help with books/a laptop and a computer programme to help plan your work better.
    I am bipolar, but at the time my diagnosis was depression. My psychiatrist wrote a letter basically saying I would benefit from any support they could offer.
    Only you know how your condition affects you, so start with making a few notes and then expanding with details. You could always get someone from uni to help you, there should be an advice centre/disabled student person.
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    I'm also curious, how would the DSA money be spent in the OPs case?

    I too have a disability that effects my speech (I've got offers for a modern language degree), but I don't know whether I'm eligible for DSA as I can't see the university themselves being able to provide much support in my case.

    I go to a support group to help control my speech condition, based in London. Would I be able to get any DSA-type support to go to these sessions?
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    (Original post by yabbayabba)
    I'm also curious, how would the DSA money be spent in the OPs case?
    Books and photocopying. If someone is commuting by train and finds commuting difficult (people with mental health conditions can find particularly bus environments very stressful and can worsen their condition - I know how packed trains can get) then the DSA will possibly pay for the difference between first class and standard class travel during peak times.

    The DSA will possibly cover a helper. A mentor, for example, who the student is able to meet on a regular basis to discuss problems and also to discover ways of coping with university study, relieve anxiety, and improve confidence (if confidence is a problem). This will not be money the student will receive to give to the mentor (or company providing the mentor). It will be paid by the student body.

    I go to a support group to help control my speech condition, based in London. Would I be able to get any DSA-type support to go to these sessions?
    Unfortunately this is unlikely as it is not a direct academic cost.
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    (Original post by niceday)
    I think it's a joke how some people abuse the DSA system.
    Can I ask how you think I am abusing the system? I'm not lying about my condition, if the assessors think it warrants DSA, then I don't see how I am abusing it.

    River - Thanks for all of your information it's really useful.

    I am going to Bristol University (I have an unconditional), and they have a mental health mentoring system, which I would find really helpful, but you need DSA to do it. I'm not fussed about a laptop or that, but if they think of anything that may help, I am open to suggestions from the DSA team.

    What sort of things do people get?
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    (Original post by paper-wings)
    What sort of things do people get?
    My assessor is writing to SFE recommending the following things, for depression and psychosis (possible schizophrenia):

    - Mac book Pro with film editing and music software and Microsoft Office
    - Printer
    - Scanner
    - Note taker
    - Mentor
    - Taxi and uni travel (one-day travel card) allowance
    - Dictaphone

    Think there might be a photocopying allowance too. I went in there hoping for a dictaphone and printer :o:
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    (Original post by ~ Purple Rose ~)
    I applied for it during my course, and was given help with books/a laptop and a computer programme to help plan your work better.
    I am bipolar, but at the time my diagnosis was depression. My psychiatrist wro a letter basically saying I would benefit from any support they could offer.
    Only you know how your condition affects you, so start with making a few notes and then expanding with details. You could always get someone from uni to help you, there should be an advice centre/disabled student person.
    Thta's pretty much what my psych said too. Well, as well as mentioning the symptoms and effects etc.

    (Original post by River85)
    Books and photocopying. If someone is commuting by train and finds commuting difficult (people with mental health conditions can find particularly bus environments very stressful and can worsen their condition - I know how packed trains can get) then the DSA will possibly pay for the difference between first class and standard class travel during peak times.

    The DSA will possibly cover a helper. A mentor, for example, who the student is able to meet on a regular basis to discuss problems and also to discover ways of coping with university study, relieve anxiety, and improve confidence (if confidence is a problem). This will not be money the student will receive to give to the mentor (or company providing the mentor). It will be paid by the student body.



    Unfortunately this is unlikely as it is not a direct academic cost.
    River, I just want to thank you. You're always so lovely and informative and tell the trolls to **** off (politely) . When people act like DSA for mental health problems, in particular, are an 'abuse' of the system, it makes me feel like crap so thanks for standing up for everyone.
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    I get really upset when people say us the mental health sufferers abuse any kinds of system. Yes we do look normal, yes we have 2 working arms and 2 working legs, but it doesn't mean we don't need help. If it wasn't for the support from my uni, I would never have been able to complete my degree. I don't know the background of anybody here, but me for example, I was a really bright student (so I was told...) and I almost always got straight As, but since I began to feel unwell, I could see a clear drop, everything has gone upside down since. I used to be able to work for hours without losing focus, now I would be very lucky if I can get a half day that I could work normally. I used to be very confidence and never have to think twice before saying things in class etc etc, now I don't think twice, I have to think 100s times before I might be brave enought to say sth simple in class. It "only" took my 6 months to finally be brave enought to ask for some extra help and it "only" took me 3 years to finally decided to go for DSA. I think I have "earned" it, it was always gonna be my last resort and sadly now I have to use it in order to get some decent experience from my MA. If one has never suffered any kinds of disabilty, one would never understand what it feels like. To be honest, I used to think people with mental health issues are weirdors and never understood why they would need extra support with let say using a computer, mental health issues to my mind was never a form of disability. But now being a long ish term sufferer, I now know how ignorance I was. Yes we might be getting in some people's minds "free" this and "free" that, I think the computer is the most discussed item of all. Would I rather feel normal and be able to go to uni to use the IT suites and make friends at the same time? Yes I would, but in reality, can I? No I can't. Why? Because I get anxious and worst of all, I might lose it and shout at people around me, which I have done and I managed to scare everybody. Did I enjoy that? No. So while we might be getting some so called free manterials from the gov, we are losing other things that are priceless.
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    (Original post by ExTraP)
    I get really upset when people say us the mental health sufferers abuse any kinds of system. Yes we do look normal, yes we have 2 working arms and 2 working legs, but it doesn't mean we don't need help. If it wasn't for the support from my uni, I would never have been able to complete my degree. I don't know the background of anybody here, but me for example, I was a really bright student (so I was told...) and I almost always got straight As, but since I began to feel unwell, I could see a clear drop, everything has gone upside down since. I used to be able to work for hours without losing focus, now I would be very lucky if I can get a half day that I could work normally. I used to be very confidence and never have to think twice before saying things in class etc etc, now I don't think twice, I have to think 100s times before I might be brave enought to say sth simple in class. It "only" took my 6 months to finally be brave enought to ask for some extra help and it "only" took me 3 years to finally decided to go for DSA. I think I have "earned" it, it was always gonna be my last resort and sadly now I have to use it in order to get some decent experience from my MA. If one has never suffered any kinds of disabilty, one would never understand what it feels like. To be honest, I used to think people with mental health issues are weirdors and never understood why they would need extra support with let say using a computer, mental health issues to my mind was never a form of disability. But now being a long ish term sufferer, I now know how ignorance I was. Yes we might be getting in some people's minds "free" this and "free" that, I think the computer is the most discussed item of all. Would I rather feel normal and be able to go to uni to use the IT suites and make friends at the same time? Yes I would, but in reality, can I? No I can't. Why? Because I get anxious and worst of all, I might lose it and shout at people around me, which I have done and I managed to scare everybody. Did I enjoy that? No. So while we might be getting some so called free manterials from the gov, we are losing other things that are priceless.
    *nods vehemently*

    I think that's why mental illness is so cruel. It snatches so much from you but no-one can see and they think you're extorting things you don't deserve- which doesn't help when you have no self esteem to begin with. I wouldn't wish my illnesses on anyone. If DSA can help in anyway, it's worth the price of laptop and a bit of software. When it's a struggle to live normally + you have the pressures of being a student, you need help. DSA is meant to take the additional pressure of the disability away so you can concentrate on the student-y side. At least that's how I see it.
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    (Original post by diamonddust)
    DSA is meant to take the additional pressure of the disability away so you can concentrate on the student-y side. At least that's how I see it.
    Definitely. My assessor on Monday was very concerned that I don't waste my potential and am allowed to show it, and that the environment I do this in should be as comfortable and safe as possible :yes:
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    I would quite happily pay someone twice my DSA allowance in cash to take away my conditions, so while they can enjoy my "free" computer, "free" software, "free" printer, "free" scanner and "free" print allowace all in £20 notes, they can also enjoy my mood swings, low self esteem, inability to communicate effective with others, panic attacks, confusion, lack of concentration and the list goes on. Any taker?
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    (Original post by paper-wings)
    Can I ask how you think I am abusing the system? I'm not lying about my condition, if the assessors think it warrants DSA, then I don't see how I am abusing it.

    River - Thanks for all of your information it's really useful.

    I am going to Bristol University (I have an unconditional), and they have a mental health mentoring system, which I would find really helpful, but you need DSA to do it. I'm not fussed about a laptop or that, but if they think of anything that may help, I am open to suggestions from the DSA team.

    What sort of things do people get?
    No where in my post did I say you were. I work in mental health and have seen the way patients abuse the system in real life.

    I guess all the DSA claimers got offended by my post and decided to neg rep me.
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    (Original post by niceday)
    I guess all the DSA claimers got offended by my post and decided to neg rep me.
    Are you referring to Disabled Students Allowance (a non-means tested grant used to meet additional expenses of study) or Disabability Living Allowance (a government benefit)?

    DSA is only for higher education students who face additional costs. Most of it does not come in the form of a money payment. When money is given to students it can only be spend on certain things (those suggested by an independent assessor).

    I think you're actually referring to DLA. This is not the subject of this thread.

    Regardles, whether you think people abuse DLA or DSA, then why effectively invade the thread just to make that statement? It is very poor judgement as there is no way that post will be viewed as being constructive and is only bound to offend people.

    You are free to express your opinions but keep them to more approprite threads and situations.
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    (Original post by niceday)
    No where in my post did I say you were. I work in mental health and have seen the way patients abuse the system in real life.

    I guess all the DSA claimers got offended by my post and decided to neg rep me.
    I don't do neg rep, even when offended (which I wasn't particularly: more amused) :nah:
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    If you have a real issue go for DLA (ive never heard of DSA, googled and i just saw things about driving). My brother has aspergers/autism and gets the maxiumum amount(its like £2-300 a month i think). I know someone who is blind in one eye and lost an arm yet they get a quarter of what my brother gets.

    Bro just joined the army and they didnt think his aspergers/autism was a problem during his medical yet DLA still think it is so he still gets the money, they put him through another diagnosis and they said nothing had changed, whereas for the army he just provided two referencse from college lecturers stating it wouldnt be an issue and they were happy with it. Thats how messed up the system is.

    My younger brother also gets it but I feel my younger brother actually needs more than the grant provides. Oh well.


    tl:dr if you have a real problem ('diagnosed') go get some monehs with DLA. I know nothign about DSA
 
 
 
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