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Disclosing mental illness at university Watch

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    Is it a bad idea? I'm thinking of Oxbridge in particular, as I've read a lot of things about how badly students have been treated after doing so. The university mental health policy seems like it's designed so they can kick you out as soon as you tell them! The reason I (kinda sorta) want to disclose it is that it is really affecting my memory and concentration and I want my tutors to know that this isn't because of laziness, irresponsibility, etc,

    Have you disclosed a mental illness to your university? Were they supportive (and, if so, how) or not?

    Thanks in advance
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    thats really awful if they do kick you out because of it..
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    I disclosed my mental illness on my application and haven't had any problems with uni at alll, in fact they've been incredibly supportive! If you're worried that there's a chance they'll kick you out because of it, remember it's going to be better for you to get to a uni where they accept your disability and cater for it so that you do well, than to get into a better uni with no support, which could end with you struggling and failing to get a good grade.

    Hopefully you won't have to worry about that though.
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    I have a hard to spot physical illness rather than a mental one, so my situation is slightly different. It has caused me to be absent from college a couple of times, although I have never missed a deadline due to it. However my recommendation is too not disclose on your application, as you mentioned it just leaves you open to be discriminated against regardless of what the law says (this is more of an issue with job applications but it still holds true for unis). However DO disclose it in private to your lecturers if it does cause you to miss class, I have found my lecturers to be sympathetic to myself and others in my class provided there excuse is valid and not overused.

    The only time I ever disclose my long term illness is for insurance purposes during my last two jobs (which involved driving, my illness is DVLA recognised so I MUST disclose that I have a license restriction), otherwise I find it wise to just keep your own medical history between yourself and your doctor. It is your human right to have a private life so you are not doing anything wrong by non-disclosure.

    Although disclaimer, again especially in work places, if you do not disclose you do not recieve any of the benefits outlined in the Disabilities Act. Meaning you will not be able to use your illness as an excuse in a legal setting (employment tribunal) or to an examination appeals board (no extra time for exams).
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    I applied as disabled and had a really positive experience. As it turned out I needed very little support during university and managed well, but it just meant knowing I had the back up of disability services if anything went wrong and that my tutors were always aware and supportive.

    I have no idea specifically about Cambridge, from what I've heard they are keen on people taking a leave of absence if they're struggling, but things are so high pressure in Oxbridge that perhaps that is necessary to stop people failing out/having a complete break down?

    Perhaps you could contact the disability services at the universities you are considering in advance and just ask them about your concerns, you might not get 100% honest answers but you might be able to pick up on attitudes and so on and see if there is anything which sends up warning signs.

    I'd be very concerned about going to a university while struggling with mental health if for some reason you felt you would not be able to disclose as it could make it hard to get very small adjustments which make a big difference and could mean you struggle on alone past the point at which it is okay to do so and make yourself more ill.
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    (Original post by Anonymous)
    Is it a bad idea? I'm thinking of Oxbridge in particular, as I've read a lot of things about how badly students have been treated after doing so. The university mental health policy seems like it's designed so they can kick you out as soon as you tell them! The reason I (kinda sorta) want to disclose it is that it is really affecting my memory and concentration and I want my tutors to know that this isn't because of laziness, irresponsibility, etc,

    Have you disclosed a mental illness to your university? Were they supportive (and, if so, how) or not?

    Thanks in advance
    You might find the four stories in this thread helpful

    One of them is mine and I have nothing but positive words to say about my university and how it's helped put support in place for me
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    Even Oxbridge are under the remit of the equal opportunities act and they are required by law to make reasonable adjustments. But this also requires you being proactive about seeking support - whether that be a sort of mentor type person, requesting help for exams or voice recorders.

    Any place that discriminates against you is not somewhere you want to be. It's not safe or healthy. I've left jobs because they've had a poor attitude to mental health and I have no regrets.
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    I probably should have mentioned- I am already a student (Oxford).
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    Well you're covered by legislation the second you disclose your disability soninwouldnt worry about being part way through. You can disclose then request a meeting with whomever deals with disabled students to look at reasonable adjustments
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    (Original post by Anonymous)
    Is it a bad idea? I'm thinking of Oxbridge in particular, as I've read a lot of things about how badly students have been treated after doing so. The university mental health policy seems like it's designed so they can kick you out as soon as you tell them! The reason I (kinda sorta) want to disclose it is that it is really affecting my memory and concentration and I want my tutors to know that this isn't because of laziness, irresponsibility, etc,

    Have you disclosed a mental illness to your university? Were they supportive (and, if so, how) or not?

    Thanks in advance
    Legally because of equal oppertunity and anti-discrimination acts they cannot kick you out or treat you negitivly due to your disability or illness (mh counts in this). They also have to make reasonable adjustments to accomodate you with your difficulties (just as they would have to provide ramps for wheelchair users).

    Sometimes the student support you get isn't amazing and sometimes you will get treated differently, but they cannot treat you badly or kick you out because of it and if they do you can threaten to (or actually) report them.

    They would be able to kick you out if you broke important rules still. Disability will not protect you from that, but reasonable adjustment would probably for you mean a lenience towards lateness to lectures, poor attendance and things that might otherwise mean being pulled off the course at a certian point.
    Look into DSA. It's how you access most support for disability/ illnesses. Your uni should also have a student support centre you can talk to. My allowances for depression and ocd included lienience with lateness and regular meetings with a student support worker to check how I was doing. It is worked out for each person individually and you will discuss in an assessment of need what support would help you. You need medical evidence for dsa so you would need to get a doctors note (just go ask your doctor and they will write you one).

    What is it that makes you think they would kick you out? You said something about their policy. Have you read it? I'd be interested to know what it is that sounds bad.
    There are some horror stories of people being treated badly with a disability or mh problem but you are better covered if you declare it and apply for dsa (otherwise they do not know about your disability and would not know to make adjustments so you would not be able to claim discrimination). That's a worst case scenario kinda view and there are many many people who benefit from dsa and are not treated badly in any way.

    Hope that helps.
 
 
 
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