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DSA for mental illness

Hi everyone!
I’m going into second year in september and Ive finally had an official psychiatric assessment bc i’ve been waiting on the nhs for a long time. Anyway I’ve finally been diagnosed with borderline personality disorder and OCD.

Since being diagnosed a couple of weeks ago I’ve applied for my university disability service. But i’m also wondering about the DSA. I know I’m eligible to apply but I’m confused as to what they would offer me? My mental illnesses do really affect how I cope at uni but idrk what they could offer me to help if that makes sense. I know they’ll carry out a needs assessment themselves but I’m wondering what sort of solutions they might offer.

Does anyone have any experience with DSA?
Would it cover for example costs relating to travel if I’m going to appointments or therapy?

Thanks!!

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Oh also, I’m not sure if this is relevant but I already receive a bursary from my uni as I’m from a low income household as well as now being estranged from my family. I don’t know if this would affect what they would offer me due to the fact I get a bursary
It would be there to cover study-related needs (not generic mental health needs unrelated to your studies), so wouldn't cover travel costs of going to/from therapy appointments or other medical appointments. It could potentially cover taxi fares (with an approved company) from home to uni, if you're not living on campus.

In my experience of getting DSA (for psychosis, in my case - so quite a different condition), DSA for mental health is designed to set you up to work from home for the days where you can't go into campus. So they may suggest providing you with equipment like a laptop (you'll have to pay the first £200-odd pounds towards this), a printer-scanner-photocopier, any course-specific software you might need. I've only had DSA as a postgrad but for my Masters course, I had a notetaker in lectures, which was handy, and I was given a dictaphone to record lectures. You may also get a 'consumables' allowance towards printing paper, printer ink, and non-core textbooks.

By far, the most useful thing DSA has given me is weekly access to a specialist mental health mentor via my uni's disability office. This is someone who keeps an eye on you, helps with study skills and motivation, and acts as a general liaison point between you, the uni's disability office, and other people within the uni :yes:
Your bursary shouldn't affect your ability to get DSA, or vice versa, afaik :fyi:
Original post by The_Lonely_Goatherd
It would be there to cover study-related needs (not generic mental health needs unrelated to your studies), so wouldn't cover travel costs of going to/from therapy appointments or other medical appointments. It could potentially cover taxi fares (with an approved company) from home to uni, if you're not living on campus.

In my experience of getting DSA (for psychosis, in my case - so quite a different condition), DSA for mental health is designed to set you up to work from home for the days where you can't go into campus. So they may suggest providing you with equipment like a laptop (you'll have to pay the first £200-odd pounds towards this), a printer-scanner-photocopier, any course-specific software you might need. I've only had DSA as a postgrad but for my Masters course, I had a notetaker in lectures, which was handy, and I was given a dictaphone to record lectures. You may also get a 'consumables' allowance towards printing paper, printer ink, and non-core textbooks.

By far, the most useful thing DSA has given me is weekly access to a specialist mental health mentor via my uni's disability office. This is someone who keeps an eye on you, helps with study skills and motivation, and acts as a general liaison point between you, the uni's disability office, and other people within the uni :yes:

Thanks for the reply!
I do think a mentor could be useful as the standard support given on my degree is very limited and first year was very stressful bc of it esp bc my bpd really affects my ability to plan and organise work and to attend lectures.

Just wondering, do you happen to know of any other types of funding which could cover costs directly related to my mental health needs? As my gp has told me that he can’t really offer me any suitable treatments as there aren’t any in my area and that I should go private. Except I really don’t have the money to do this, even with my bursary as I use my bursary to pay for my accommodation. So I was just wondering if there’s any types of funding for things like this?

Thanks again!
So I have mine for autism, depression and anxiety
I'll provide a list of all the software as DSA they are really helpful, also I believe the software for mental health and nuerodiveregent people are the same providing you can explanation for it
I got 2 hours of a therapist
I also got 2 hour ASD mentoring per week which is like study skills and coping with chage etc
Then apart from software they asked about adjustments which you get more of from the uni but there are some like extra time etc that you are supposed to get from DDSS because of the funding (the adjustments you need for exams or presentations etc.)
I was also given a printer for free and £186 for ink and paper but they pack this back rather than giving this to you. (I was eligable for a laptop but didn't need one)
- I got glean which allows you to record the lectures and make notes whilst recording, adding slides, edit them and many more
I was also sent a free microphone with this because of how large the lecture theatres are
- I also got Scholarly which you put in an article and then it summarises it for you and seperates the categories
- I also got global tasks which is an organised to do list online programme but you can hade tasks and edit it in cool other ways so really useful
- I also got pro study which collects all the different articles for different projects and organises them and then does the referencing for you
- I also got writing helper which structures the essay and explains what question words mean as well as telling you if you have any plagarism in it and making sure all the targets are done
- I also got grammarly premium which helps with the tone of the writing which was really helpful (I think this is the only one that isn't on the list for mental health)
- I also got claro read which adds tints to the screen etc and reads out all the text as well as being able to speak to it and it will type for you and it also has other PDF features
- I also got brain in hand which is a app designed for autistic people for routine and having a set bank of solutions when things go wrong but is given for other mental health conditions
Honestly the DSA team are amazing and provide so much support
(edited 1 year ago)
Original post by emilyxsierra
Thanks for the reply!
I do think a mentor could be useful as the standard support given on my degree is very limited and first year was very stressful bc of it esp bc my bpd really affects my ability to plan and organise work and to attend lectures.

Just wondering, do you happen to know of any other types of funding which could cover costs directly related to my mental health needs? As my gp has told me that he can’t really offer me any suitable treatments as there aren’t any in my area and that I should go private. Except I really don’t have the money to do this, even with my bursary as I use my bursary to pay for my accommodation. So I was just wondering if there’s any types of funding for things like this?

Thanks again!


Hiya,

No problem at all! I'm afraid I don't know of any other sources of funding you could use to get private treatment. I don't think it's the type of thing most charities consider unfortunately (though there are probably loads of people in a similar boat to you). Your uni should have a counselling service, if you haven't tried that already, and there may be hardship funds offered by the uni that you could use to put some money towards this? Though private therapy can be really expensive, so I dunno how many sessions a hardship fund would end up covering, even if you applied and were granted it :frown:
Original post by Jess_Lomas
So I have mine for autism, depression and anxiety
I'll provide a list of all the software as DSA they are really helpful, also I believe the software for mental health and nuerodiveregent people are the same providing you can explanation for it
I got 2 hours of a therapist
I also got 2 hour ASD mentoring per week which is like study skills and coping with chage etc
Then apart from software they asked about adjustments which you get more of from the uni but there are some like extra time etc that you are supposed to get from DDSS because of the funding (the adjustments you need for exams or presentations etc.)
I was also given a printer for free and £186 for ink and paper but they pack this back rather than giving this to you. (I was eligable for a laptop but didn't need one)
- I got glean which allows you to record the lectures and make notes whilst recording, adding slides, edit them and many more
I was also sent a free microphone with this because of how large the lecture theatres are
- I also got Scholarly which you put in an article and then it summarises it for you and seperates the categories
- I also got global tasks which is an organised to do list online programme but you can hade tasks and edit it in cool other ways so really useful
- I also got pro study which collects all the different articles for different projects and organises them and then does the referencing for you
- I also got writing helper which structures the essay and explains what question words mean as well as telling you if you have any plagarism in it and making sure all the targets are done
- I also got grammarly premium which helps with the tone of the writing which was really helpful (I think this is the only one that isn't on the list for mental health)
- I also got claro read which adds tints to the screen etc and reads out all the text as well as being able to speak to it and it will type for you and it also has other PDF features
- I also got brain in hand which is a app designed for autistic people for routine and having a set bank of solutions when things go wrong but is given for other mental health conditions
Honestly the DSA team are amazing and provide so much support


This is so useful thank you!

When I read they offered software I didn’t think it sound be that helpful for me but I actually think I’d find all of these very helpful. When I go for the needs assessment I think I’ll explain to them that bpd symptoms manifest very similarly to adhd symptoms and also asd (the diagnoses in fact are often mixed up bc of the way the symptoms present) so anything they’d offer to someone with adhd/asd/another neurodivergency I do think would be useful to me too.
(edited 1 year ago)
Original post by The_Lonely_Goatherd
Hiya,

No problem at all! I'm afraid I don't know of any other sources of funding you could use to get private treatment. I don't think it's the type of thing most charities consider unfortunately (though there are probably loads of people in a similar boat to you). Your uni should have a counselling service, if you haven't tried that already, and there may be hardship funds offered by the uni that you could use to put some money towards this? Though private therapy can be really expensive, so I dunno how many sessions a hardship fund would end up covering, even if you applied and were granted it :frown:

ahh yeah I thought this would be the case. unfortunately i’ve already tried the uni counselling service, and they don’t offer the type of treatment for my conditions. I think my best bet is to explain the circumstances to my uni as they do have spare money for certain circumstances I think so maybe they’d be able to do something. or maybe they’d have suggestions for something i could do
anyway thanks again for your help!
Original post by emilyxsierra
This is so useful thank you!

When I read they offered software I didn’t think it sound be that helpful for me but I actually think I’d find all of these very helpful. When I go for the needs assessment I think I’ll explain to them that bpd symptoms manifest very similarly to adhd symptoms and also asd (the diagnoses in fact are often mixed up bc of the way the symptoms present) so anything they’d offer to someone with adhd/asd/another neurodivergency I do think would be useful to me too.


Yh hopefully you can get them as they would be really useful for you
It's like they require a reason for it but say glean there are many reasons like for anxiety you have a panic attack and miss some, adhd you can't concentrate so miss some, asd for me I have a slower processing speed so might miss some, dyslexia takes longer to read the information so there's a reason for lots of conditions all different so the most important thing is explaining why for me before my assessment I thought of reasons for each so that might help with getting software
Let me know how it goes if you feel comfortable
Original post by Jess_Lomas
Yh hopefully you can get them as they would be really useful for you
It's like they require a reason for it but say glean there are many reasons like for anxiety you have a panic attack and miss some, adhd you can't concentrate so miss some, asd for me I have a slower processing speed so might miss some, dyslexia takes longer to read the information so there's a reason for lots of conditions all different so the most important thing is explaining why for me before my assessment I thought of reasons for each so that might help with getting software
Let me know how it goes if you feel comfortable

Ahh yeah this is a good idea, when I get my appointment confirmed I’ll start thinking of reasons for why I might need certain things
and yeah, i’ll let you know how it goes! thanks for all the help
Reply 11
The bursary you're getting isn't relating to your mental illness, so I doubt that would affect the outcome of your DSA.

Original post by emilyxsierra
Oh also, I’m not sure if this is relevant but I already receive a bursary from my uni as I’m from a low income household as well as now being estranged from my family. I don’t know if this would affect what they would offer me due to the fact I get a bursary
Original post by emilyxsierra
Ahh yeah this is a good idea, when I get my appointment confirmed I’ll start thinking of reasons for why I might need certain things
and yeah, i’ll let you know how it goes! thanks for all the help

just an update
it’s now been confirmed that i am definitely eligible for DSA and i’m currently booking in my appointment so hopefully i’ll have some adjustments in place before i go back in september!
Original post by emilyxsierra
just an update
it’s now been confirmed that i am definitely eligible for DSA and i’m currently booking in my appointment so hopefully i’ll have some adjustments in place before i go back in september!

Amazing news
It's worth getting in touch with uni disability services it you haven't already as DSA mainly provides software and the uni itself makes adjustments for things like deadlines and lectures etc
Original post by Jess_Lomas
Amazing news
It's worth getting in touch with uni disability services it you haven't already as DSA mainly provides software and the uni itself makes adjustments for things like deadlines and lectures etc

yeah ive applied for my uni’s disability service they’re just currently reviewing my evidence.

i emailed my assessment centre about an appointment too, they haven’t gotten back to me yet but i assume it’s normal for it to take a while to get an appointment for the assessment
ok, me again lol
does anyone know/have any experience with how long it took for the assessment centre to respond and give you an appointment?

as i asked for one nearly a month ago and have had no reply
Original post by emilyxsierra
ok, me again lol
does anyone know/have any experience with how long it took for the assessment centre to respond and give you an appointment?

as i asked for one nearly a month ago and have had no reply


That does feel a bit unusual. I'd give them a polite and friendly gentle poke :yep:
Mine took around 2 days to book and a week to wait
Are you going to one in person or online as the online ones for me I has to fill out a load of information, submit the forms and then picked a date
Original post by Jess_Lomas
Mine took around 2 days to book and a week to wait
Are you going to one in person or online as the online ones for me I has to fill out a load of information, submit the forms and then picked a date

i plan to do it online but can do in person if they want. the instructions i was given were to just send them an email with the letter saying i was eligible for DSA and my personal evidence, and ask for an appointment and then they would reply with a date. but they havent. i did receive an automated reply so the email has definitely been received, so i’m not sure if they’re just busy this time of year
Original post by emilyxsierra
i plan to do it online but can do in person if they want. the instructions i was given were to just send them an email with the letter saying i was eligible for DSA and my personal evidence, and ask for an appointment and then they would reply with a date. but they havent. i did receive an automated reply so the email has definitely been received, so i’m not sure if they’re just busy this time of year


They are probably quite busy at this time of year
I booked mine in march so I guess not many people had booked then but I would have thought they would have offered you an appointment and just said it was in a months time rather than not responding
Hope you are able to get it done soon

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