Mental Health Disabilities
Depression, Bipolar Disorder, Anxiety Disorder
How this may affect student participation:
- Most students under appropriate treatment may exhibit no outward signs of disorder,
and may be quite effective as students.
- Some students may be taking medication that adversely affects concentration and performance.
- In some cases, students may develop physical or behavioral symptoms as a result of
Helpful strategies for instructing students with Mental Health Disabilities:
- Exercise patience and empathy.
- Help students to follow lectures with three steps: >preview>lecture>review.
- Provide lecture outlines and other handouts.
- Use a multi-sensory approach when providing information to students. Increased learning
can occur when material is presented simultaneously in a variety of ways, e.g. visual
images with auditory descriptions.
- Gain students attention when highlighting significant points by using eye contact,
voice inflection, and body gesturing.
- Provide concrete examples and practical applications of material whenever possible.
- Review important points several times during the lecture; give assignments both orally
and in written format.
- Identify, in private and with sensitivity, inappropriate behaviors, if necessary.
- Develop a positive student-teacher relationship.
*Understand that these disorders are often exasperated by stress, allowing for flexibility
for the student to meet course objectives and learning outcomes may be necessary.
From a student with a Mood Disorder (Bipolar)
“The most helpful thing a faculty member did for me was help me study for a test and
gave me a clear understanding of the notes.”