Providing Learning Support for Students with Mental Health Difficulties Undertaking Fieldwork and Related Activities

What Do We Mean By 'Mental Health Difficulties'?

Many of us experience some of the symptoms of mental illness at some points in our lives. These may range from bouts of the blues or a strong dislike of spiders through to severe paranoia. At one end of the spectrum such difficulties are unlikely to impede functioning and would not lead to a diagnosis of a specific illness, while at the other their severity may require long-term medical intervention. A recent survey suggested that approximately 10-15 per cent of students are experiencing difficulties that may benefit from or require some form of professional intervention, ranging from counselling to medication or, more rarely, hospitalisation. Mental ill-health, like physical ill-health, is rarely permanent and most of those who are or have been ill make full recoveries.

It is important to recognise that for some people, some of the time, their mental state creates a barrier that impedes effective learning. If we aim to reduce the most obvious barriers for those students with a diagnosed condition, such as severe anxiety or depression, we also reduce many more small impediments are felt across the student population but are never revealed.

(Your teaching may finally reach some parts of the student body it never did previously!)

See also Common illnesses and Symptoms and Behaviours That Might Indicate Mental Health Difficulties.

Page updated 14 December 2001

GDN pages maintained by Phil Gravestock