Mental health rates seem like they're at an all-time high, especially with students, and that is because people are realizing that a mental health struggle is not necessarily a bad thing. The stigma around mental health is slowly being torn down and more awareness is being brought every day thanks to organizations like NAMI (National Institute of Mental Illness) and NIMH (National Institue of Mental Health). Although these organizations have been around for a while, they are still helping individuals who are just now finding the courage to use their voice and speak out about what they battle every day.
The American Disabilities Act (ADA) is a law that passed in 1990 and has been able to protect people who suffer from many disabilities - mental health included. Universities have papers that go hand-in-hand with this law that helps students get help at their school for their mental health struggles. Personally, struggling with Depression and Bipolar Disorder specifically, these papers could be my saving grace as I start a new school year.
These papers give students the ability to take more time on tests, to test in a different room, better access to tutors, extended due dates, and excuses from class without repercussions and no questions asked. With the correct documentation from doctors verifying your illnesses, colleges have made taking mental health days so much easier and acceptable.
There is no shame in realizing that you need a little extra help in school. On the contrary, signing these papers shows courage and strength in knowing yourself well enough to see when you need a break and when you really need to put your health first. Everyone would love a little break from the pressures of college, and thanks to this law, universities are able to provide people with the help they need in order to perform to the best of their abilities.
Once you sign these papers, there is no pressure to use the resources that are given to you. I know people that have these helpful things at hand and they choose not to utilize them because they don't need to. If that's you, then major props. However, if you're like me and need some weight off of your shoulders, you can use those resources at any given time; no questions asked.
I do not regret signing these papers and giving them to my university. The college I go to (and really any college out there) understands that people struggle and they're not there to shame you if you can't do every little thing by yourself. On the contrary, your university should take pride in seeing one of their students recognizing the strength inside themselves to get the help they need that will further the good of their education.