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    I applied for university last year but had to withdraw because of how things were. I am applying again this year but have a few questions that I didn’t get answers for the last time around.

    Most universities I visited at open days had some sort of mental health support through the university but all of them spoke to me about the DSA. I don’t really feel like anyone explained it so I was wondering if you folks could help?

    Realistically, what could the DSA do for me as a person with mental health issues?

    I know that it’s how I would get exam arrangements but I’m really worried about getting other support at university. Am I even entitled to more support?

    I know from a bit of research that they provide things based on how your illness affects your education. For me, it causes a lot of problems, but I’m not really sure how they could help?

    It causes problems for attendance, concentration, motivation and things like that but I feel like all of those things are my personal responsibility? I’m not really sure how any of those things could be helped?

    I’m not sure if this was a coherent post.

    Essentially, I’m wondering what I could be offered to help manage my mental health issues? If you’ve applied for the DSA because of mental health issues, how did it work? what did they help with? What was the process like?

    Also, I know that there’s a needs assessment. I’m wondering how that is? Is it one of those things where they try and catch you out so they can offer you as little as they can or no?

    I’m not really sure. Thank you in advance. Sorry about the messiness and the 6385726394 questions.
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    (Original post by lilybr)
    I applied for university last year but had to withdraw because of how things were. I am applying again this year but have a few questions that I didn’t get answers for the last time around.

    Most universities I visited at open days had some sort of mental health support through the university but all of them spoke to me about the DSA. I don’t really feel like anyone explained it so I was wondering if you folks could help?

    Realistically, what could the DSA do for me as a person with mental health issues?

    I know that it’s how I would get exam arrangements but I’m really worried about getting other support at university. Am I even entitled to more support?

    I know from a bit of research that they provide things based on how your illness affects your education. For me, it causes a lot of problems, but I’m not really sure how they could help?

    It causes problems for attendance, concentration, motivation and things like that but I feel like all of those things are my personal responsibility? I’m not really sure how any of those things could be helped?

    I’m not sure if this was a coherent post.

    Essentially, I’m wondering what I could be offered to help manage my mental health issues? If you’ve applied for the DSA because of mental health issues, how did it work? what did they help with? What was the process like?

    Also, I know that there’s a needs assessment. I’m wondering how that is? Is it one of those things where they try and catch you out so they can offer you as little as they can or no?

    I’m not really sure. Thank you in advance. Sorry about the messiness and the 6385726394 questions.
    You could get a mental health mentor. They should really change the name, it's basically a conversation with someone to discuss what support might help, it's not like benefit assessments where they try and catch you out at all.
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    (Original post by lilybr)
    I

    It causes problems for attendance, concentration, motivation and things like that but I feel like all of those things are my personal responsibility? I’m not really sure how any of those things could be helped?
    You may get a note take / dictaphone to record lectures.
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    I get DSA for mental health issues (schizoaffective disorder). As well as providing me with a specialist mental health mentor (which by far has been the most useful thing about it), I was given an equipment package so that I can work effectively from home during times when I struggle to leave the flat. This included a laptop with lots of software on it (mindmapping, text-to-speech software for when my concentration is poor); a printer-scanner; a dictaphone for recording lectures (when I was doing my Masters. I'm a PhD student now), and a 'consumables' allowance for buying paper, printer ink and non-core textbooks. During my MA, I had lectures, so was given a notetaker too for when I was too psychotic to attend (or even if I could attend, to take notes in case I zoned out or was hearing voices during a lecture).

    I was also given a taxi allowance that covered the difference between my train ticket to uni, and the journey from home to uni. I never used it but it was helpful to know that that was there.

    In short, a lot of help can be offered! As has been said, the needs assessment is basically a long chat to find out how your studies are affected by your disability, and what can be offered/done to help bring you back to a level playing field with other students. The assessors are really nice and gentle and take things at a pace that's comfortable for you. I'd highly recommend you apply for it
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    (Original post by lilybr)
    I applied for university last year but had to withdraw because of how things were. I am applying again this year but have a few questions that I didn’t get answers for the last time around.

    Most universities I visited at open days had some sort of mental health support through the university but all of them spoke to me about the DSA. I don’t really feel like anyone explained it so I was wondering if you folks could help?

    Realistically, what could the DSA do for me as a person with mental health issues?

    I know that it’s how I would get exam arrangements but I’m really worried about getting other support at university. Am I even entitled to more support?

    I know from a bit of research that they provide things based on how your illness affects your education. For me, it causes a lot of problems, but I’m not really sure how they could help?

    It causes problems for attendance, concentration, motivation and things like that but I feel like all of those things are my personal responsibility? I’m not really sure how any of those things could be helped?

    I’m not sure if this was a coherent post.

    Essentially, I’m wondering what I could be offered to help manage my mental health issues? If you’ve applied for the DSA because of mental health issues, how did it work? what did they help with? What was the process like?

    Also, I know that there’s a needs assessment. I’m wondering how that is? Is it one of those things where they try and catch you out so they can offer you as little as they can or no?

    I’m not really sure. Thank you in advance. Sorry about the messiness and the 6385726394 questions.

    I had DSA for my physical disability initially, but at the end of second year my MH issues were diagnosed because I had a breakdown etc. Anyway, at the end of second year my needs assessment was "topped up" and I got the addition of a specialist MH mentor. Having said that, my initial needs assessment also helped a lot with my then undiagnosed MH issues - I got mind mapping software, a dictaphone, text to speak software, they also informed my department of potential absences and I had a support worker as well. Plus some other things that I can't remember (not including obvious individual exam arrangements).

    The support worker and my mentor were invaluable and I still keep in contact with them despite graduating in 2016.

    Basically, it depends on your needs and it is extremely beneficial. Do apply for DSA if you've been told you should.

    Good luck with your studies.
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    (Original post by lilybr)
    X
    It will depend on the nature of your illness but the DSA pays for things like specialist equipment (less relevant for mental health conditions but this does include things like note-taking software) and more importantly, 1:1 specialist mentoring. Some students qualify for a note-taker to take notes for them in lectures.

    Obviously, this isn't going to solve your problems but it should hopefully make them more manageable in the context of a university environment. You do have a personal responsibility to attend and concentrate to the best of your ability. If your ability to do that is hindered by your disability then universities have to make reasonable adjustments to help you, and that's where those DSA benefits come in. If you think attendance is going to be a big issue then it's potentially also worth checking if any of the departments you've applied to record lectures, because an increasing number do (which might help you a lot).

    Fortunately, the DSA needs assessment seems to have escaped the government's attempts to make benefit assessments as cruel as possible. It's actually carried out in a very positive way and it's not there to see if you need the DSA (since, presumably, you already have a medical diagnosis) but rather to find out what kind of support you could benefit from. It's a very constructive meeting and I don't think I've spoken to anybody who feels they've had a bad experience with it.
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    (Original post by lilybr)
    I applied for university last year but had to withdraw because of how things were. I am applying again this year but have a few questions that I didn’t get answers for the last time around.

    Most universities I visited at open days had some sort of mental health support through the university but all of them spoke to me about the DSA. I don’t really feel like anyone explained it so I was wondering if you folks could help?

    Realistically, what could the DSA do for me as a person with mental health issues?

    I know that it’s how I would get exam arrangements but I’m really worried about getting other support at university. Am I even entitled to more support?

    I know from a bit of research that they provide things based on how your illness affects your education. For me, it causes a lot of problems, but I’m not really sure how they could help?

    It causes problems for attendance, concentration, motivation and things like that but I feel like all of those things are my personal responsibility? I’m not really sure how any of those things could be helped?

    I’m not sure if this was a coherent post.

    Essentially, I’m wondering what I could be offered to help manage my mental health issues? If you’ve applied for the DSA because of mental health issues, how did it work? what did they help with? What was the process like?

    Also, I know that there’s a needs assessment. I’m wondering how that is? Is it one of those things where they try and catch you out so they can offer you as little as they can or no?

    I’m not really sure. Thank you in advance. Sorry about the messiness and the 6385726394 questions.
    There's a surprising amount of help if you have the appropriate documentation. If you have a report and a doctor's diagnosis in writing then you could get access to lots of things from recording permission to funding a mentor, or just special consideration with exam arrangements / coursework deadline extensions etc.
    However, if you don't have the right evidence they make it really difficult to access help. I'm dyslexic / dyspraxic / autistic, so I should have been receiving support. However I did not have post-16 diagnostic reports. Even though I got 25% extra time in my gcses and a levels I received no help from my uni because I hadn't done the DSA yet. However now they're doing a lot to help me as my new assessment just came through.
    Basically if you have the paper work sorted there's stuff you don't even realise that can be helpful that they suggest. So definitely apply xxxx
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    (Original post by Plagioclase)
    It will depend on the nature of your illness but the DSA pays for things like specialist equipment (less relevant for mental health conditions but this does include things like note-taking software) and more importantly, 1:1 specialist mentoring. Some students qualify for a note-taker to take notes for them in lectures.

    Obviously, this isn't going to solve your problems but it should hopefully make them more manageable in the context of a university environment. You do have a personal responsibility to attend and concentrate to the best of your ability. If your ability to do that is hindered by your disability then universities have to make reasonable adjustments to help you, and that's where those DSA benefits come in. If you think attendance is going to be a big issue then it's potentially also worth checking if any of the departments you've applied to record lectures, because an increasing number do (which might help you a lot).

    Fortunately, the DSA needs assessment seems to have escaped the government's attempts to make benefit assessments as cruel as possible. It's actually carried out in a very positive way and it's not there to see if you need the DSA (since, presumably, you already have a medical diagnosis) but rather to find out what kind of support you could benefit from. It's a very constructive meeting and I don't think I've spoken to anybody who feels they've had a bad experience with it.
    Yeah, my university recorded lectures and also gave me access to lectures that other students didn't have access to because of my disabilities, was super helpful and that was only possible from a recommendation from my DSA needs assessor.
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    When I was at uni and was assessed for DSA due to my depression and anxiety, I had the following suggested/arranged:

    Cognitive Behavioural Therapy - I had 6 or 8 sessions I believe, which is the normal frequency/duration I understand. There are both group and individual versions depending on the intensity required based on your needs. I also had a mental health mentor after this - as this was basically a weekly ~40 minute chat with the mentor, fairly general in nature and directed by me more than the mentor. They also suggested a recording device for lectures, and software to handle the recorded information (in fact the software had some neat tools that I thought would have been quite handy for organising myself). Unfortunately, I was supposed to be trained in this and provided the stuff, but after the assessment they never got back to me and by the time I thought that I should contact them I'd decided to withdraw anyway.

    Beyond this, hey could also make arrangements for extra time in exams, taking exams in separate rooms to the main exam hall, or similar, depending on your specific needs and the availability of resources. As indicated above, you may need to do some extra work in chasing stuff up though, unfortunately...
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    Just want to say a massive thank you to all the wonderful and helpful people who've responded to this thread.

    You're all amazing.:adore:
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    Thank you so much for all of the responses!
    You have all been incredibly helpful and I feel so much better about the process now. I won't have to take any action until student finance applications start but you have honestly been brilliant and put me at ease about a lot of things.
    Thank you so much, and like 04MR17 said, you're all amazing!! ♥♥♥
 
 
 
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