DRC Assists Students with Mental Health Conditions

The Disability Resource Center assists students with mental health conditions

The Host: Hello everybody and welcome back to the Student Affairs Podcasts Series. My name is Daniel Pinto. I'm a fellow alumnus and I will be your host today. In this episode, we will be talking about the mental health conditions, where should students go for help, what kind of support the students will get from the UofL and much more. In this episode we are joined by Colleen Martin, Director of the Disability Resource Center.

Hello Colleen, thank you for coming today, how are you doing?

Colleen Martin: I'm good.

The Host: Well, let's get to the main question which is where should students with mental health conditions go for help?

Colleen Martin: There are several offices on campus that can provide various types of support to students with mental health conditions. One that immediately comes to mind is the Counseling Center. They provide short term individual, group, and couples counseling, crisis intervention, and psychological testing. Other places that can support students with mental health conditions in various ways are Campus Health, the Dean of Students Office, Health Promotion, the Psychological Services Center, and the Disability Resource Center (or DRC). The DRC supports students with documented disabilities by promoting equal access to programs and services. Basically, we provide accommodations in an effort to level the playing field and mitigate the barriers students may be experiencing because of their disabilities. I think that sometimes folks don't realize that mental health conditions like anxiety disorders or depression can qualify as a disability and that they're eligible for support through our office, so this is a great opportunity to spread the word that student with these types of conditions can absolutely reach out to us for support.

The Host: That is great to know and what kind of support can the DRC provide to students with mental health conditions?

Colleen Martin: The DRC does not provide counseling or anything of that nature, instead, primarily what we are doing is providing academic support via accommodations. Accommodations are individually tailored to the needs of each student, so not everyone, even with the same condition, is going to need the same things. Some common things with might provide would be extended test time to give a student the opportunity to demonstrate their knowledge of the material, testing in an environment with fewer distractions compared to the classroom, support with note taking if a student is having difficulty keeping up with notes, or some flexibility with attendance or deadlines if exacerbations of disability symptoms cause students to miss an occasional class or deadline.

The Host: Yes, and how would you advise the students connect with the DRC?

Colleen Martin: In order to determine a student's eligibility for services through our office, we do need some documentation from a medical or mental health provider. So, we strongly encourage students to connect with a counselor, psychologist, psychiatrist, primary care provider, or someone who can not only diagnose and document the condition for our purposes, but also hopefully provide some form of therapy, treatment, or other support that will help the student manage symptoms. Once we get that information, we'll meet with the student to talk through what sorts of barriers they've been experiencing and come up with a plan for how to address those barriers with accommodations.

The Host: That is a great point and when should students reach out to the DRC?

Colleen Martin: Students can reach out at any time, but we definitely encourage early contact. Any accommodations that our office provides are not retroactive, so if you connect later on in the semester, that may mean there was a period of time earlier in the semester that no support was in place. Though we'd rather act early on in the semester to get those accommodations in place, please don't hesitate to reach out to us even if it's later on in the semester and some challenges have already come up.

The Host: Excellent. Before we sign off, is there anything you want to add?

Colleen Martin: I think that's it for now, thank you for the opportunity.

The Host: Thank you, Colleen we really appreciate, that you were here today with us. Take care!

For our listeners:

Blackboard is transitioning to Single Sign-On (SSO) beginning August 12th. There will be no disruptions to your user experience during this migration. SSO will allow users to log into Blackboard with a single click as long as you are already logged into another SSO enabled program such as Microsoft Outlook. Once logged on, you will also be able to go back into Blackboard within the same computer session without having to re-login each time, even if you have already closed out of the browser. While SSO aligns blackboard with most university applications and brings many benefits including enhanced security, please be diligent to sign out of public computers so others can’t access your account.

As always don’t forget to go to our website Louisville.edu/studentaffairs for more information.

Finally, we would like to give a shout out to the summer student staff who help keep things going during the summer months.

And last, but not least, thank you to our listeners. Stay tuned and come back for more!


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