Need Help With Back-to-School? Ask the NAMI HelpLine
I'm looking for information about which colleges/universities—if any—have addressed student mental health in a proactive way. My daughter lives with bipolar II, takes daily medication and attends weekly therapy. She has been compliant with this protocol for over two years and will be college-bound in 2018.
How do I tailor her school search so that we are concentrating our efforts on schools that are prepared to accommodate her needs for supervised medication intake and weekly counseling? Is there anything we can do to prepare further while she’s finishing high school?
Thank you for contacting NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness. We recently received your email regarding your daughter’s college search. We understand how critical it is to find a school that will be supportive of your daughter’s mental health. Hopefully we can help you tailor the college search to meet her needs.
Our website contains a wealth of information on living with and treating mental health conditions. Browse our Managing a Mental Health Condition in College section for information on how to find the right college, how to ask for accommodations and tips for succeeding in school.
Because your daughter is still in high school, you may also be interested in our NAMI Ending the Silence Presentation. This 50-minute presentation helps raise awareness and change perceptions around mental health conditions in middle and high school students. During Ending the Silence, students learn:
- Early warning signs
- Facts and statistics about youth and mental health conditions
- When, where and how to get help for themselves or their friends
- When it’s not okay to keep a secret
To enroll in one of NAMI’s programs near you, contact your local NAMI Affiliate or NAMI State Organization. NAMI programs are free to join. To locate your nearest NAMI Affiliates, visit our website and click on the Find Your Local NAMI menu near the center of the page.
NAMI HelpLine Team
I am reaching out to you about my son who lost his scholarship to college because his grades slipped when he was experiencing withdrawal from medications.
My son had to go on medical leave because of severe anxiety, suicidal ideation and depression. The college has been very supportive of my son and I have no complaints. However, upon his return, he was weaning off his meds and had severe insomnia. This made it very difficult for him to attend classes and do the homework, etc.
The college allowed him to finish the semester online at home, but he had to return to complete two finals. He was doing okay, but missed a couple quizzes due to a misunderstanding with one of his classes. Unfortunately, that caused his GPA to drop below the minimum needed to keep his scholarship from the school.
He has been doing much better since; he’s safely off his medication and able to hold a job in the summer. I was wondering if there are any scholarships that could help him with the 2016-2017 school year since he lost his due to the withdrawal?
Thank you for any resources you may have,
Thank you for contacting NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness. We recently received your email regarding your son’s tuition concerns. We understand how difficult it can be to reapply for scholarships. Hopefully we can offer some resources to help your son afford school:
- GWU HEATH Resource Center is a national clearinghouse for information on post-secondary education for individuals with disabilities. This website has information on financial aid, scholarships and internships.
- The InCight Education Scholarship awards multiple $500-$2500 scholarships to those that have a documented disability. View application information online, or contact them at 971-244-0305.
- Also apply to the American Association on Health and Disability (AAHD) Scholarship Program. Applicants must be pursuing undergraduate or graduate work in public health, disability studies, health promotion or other fields related to disability and health. Call AAHD at 301-545-6140 to learn more.
It may be helpful for your son to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) through Federal Student Aid, a part of the U.S. Department of Education. The office of Federal Student Aid provides federal grants, loans and other funds for college students. Once submitted, his application will be reviewed and he will be provided with a list of loans and grants that he qualifies for. Please call the Federal Student Aid Information Center at 800-433-3243 or visit their website for further information.
There are also a number of websites that provide further information on scholarships and grants for students. It may be helpful to explore GoCollege and view their comprehensive Scholarship Database for possible opportunities.
For more options, visit Need Help Paying Bills online to find financial assistance programs for bills and debt relief. Need Help Paying Bills offers an online directory to help you explore their offerings in your area.
Best of luck,
NAMI HelpLine Team
Good morning HelpLine,
I recently found the NAMI website while researching mental health awareness and ways to share my personal story. I am a psychology major graduating May of 2017, and I have been trying to find ways to fight mental health stigma on campus. I was also wondering if there are any opening volunteer positions in New York City (where I live) or Massachusetts (where I go to school).
Thanks for your time,
Thank you for contacting NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness. We recently received your email regarding your awareness work on campus. We think it’s great that you are hoping to share your passion for fighting stigma with the NAMI community! Hopefully we can offer some local points of contact to help you get started with volunteering.
NAMI launched a campaign to build a movement through the stigmafree initiative. Being stigmafree means learning about and educating others on mental illness, focusing on connecting with people to see each other as individuals and not a diagnosis and most importantly, advocating for mental health and taking the stigmafree pledge. The hashtag for the theme is #stigmafree.
If you’d like to distribute some information about mental health to your friends and classmates, you are welcome to use any of our online materials—such as our Printable Fact Sheet Library—as long as our name, logo and contact information remain intact on the document.
Also explore NAMI on Campus. You can learn more about NAMI on Campus from the materials on our website, including a list of frequently-asked questions about getting involved. To get started, fill out a NAMI on Campus interest form or email email@example.com for more information.
Explore the Share Your Story feature on our website, including our two blogs on Tumblr. Add your voice by sharing creative content such as stories, messages, art, photos and videos:
- One of our blogs is for the general community: You Are Not Alone. If you would like to submit, you can post your story here. You Are Not Alone stories are occasionally featured on our homepage at www.NAMI.org.
- To share this information with an audience of teens and young adults, visit our other Tumblr, OK2TALK. The goal of OK2TALK is to encourage teens and young adults to talk about what they’re experiencing by sharing personal stories.
You can find volunteer opportunities in the area by contacting your local NAMI Affiliate or NAMI State Organization. There, you can learn more about resources in your community and NAMI’s free education classes and support groups. To learn more, contact your NAMI State Organization, NAMI Massachusetts:
The Schrafft Center
529 Main Street, Suite 1M17
Boston, MA 02129
Also reach out to NAMI New York City Metro when you’re back at home:
NAMI New York City Metro
505 8th Ave.
New York, NY 10018-4541
Keep up the great work,
NAMI HelpLine Team