STUDENTS UNITE! Empower Youth to Succeed in School & Maintain their Mental Health Presented by Robyn Gantsweg, PhD 1 TRAINING AGENDA

- Why it Matters - Building a Student Self-Advocacy Program - Students Rights and Concerns - Teaching Self-Advocacy - Training Peer Facilitators 2 FEEL FREE TO ASK QUESTIONS AT ANY TIME!

3 Why it Matters 4 WHY IT MATTERS - One in 4 adults experiences mental illness

in a given year. - Mental health disabilities often surface for the first time during the late teens and early twenties. - For college students with mental health disabilities, navigating university life while maintaining their mental health can be overwhelming, confusing and isolating. 5

86% of students with mental health disabilities withdraw from college prior to graduation, compared to a 45% withdrawal rate for the general student population. - Kuh, G.D., Kinzie J., Buckley, J.A., Bridges, B.K., Hayek, J.C. (2006)

6 STIGMA & DISCRIMINATION - Students with mental health disabilities often experience stigma and discrimination that affect their ability to succeed. - They fear discrimination from disclosing their disability and lack self-advocacy skills and knowledge about resources to find and access services.

7 STIGMA & DISCRIMINATION Public Stigma: Negative beliefs held by people in society or in the community Institutional Stigma: Negative beliefs held within systems or organizations Self Stigma: Negative beliefs we hold about ourselves that are influenced by the beliefs

of others 8 EFFECTS OF STIGMA - Low Self-Esteem - Isolation - Feeling Devalued - Social Rejection - Shame 9

Many people say that the stigma associated with their own diagnosis was more difficult to bear than the actual illness. 10 Studies have shown that

stigma is even prevalent among the mental health provider community. 11 Stigma remains the number one barrier to students seeking help.

12 BENEFITS OF PEER SUPPORT - We feel were not alone were not the only ones. - We share experiences, resources and information. - We give one another ideas about what to do.

- We share strategies for self-advocacy. 14 THE IMPORTANCE OF PEER SELF-ADVOCACY - Facilitated by fellow students rather than clinicians, the groups reduce the stigma and embarrassment from social misunderstanding and labeling.

-They build dignity, confidence and pride in the pursuit of help, hope and recovery. 15 Building a Student Peer Self-Advocacy Program 16 BUILDING A STUDENT

SELF-ADVOCACY PROGRAM Goal: Develop a project to empower and unite students by helping them: 1. Learn self-advocacy knowledge and skills 2. Understand their rights in higher education 3. Form their own peer self-advocacy group on campus 17 STUDENTS UNITE!

- Share experiences and resources - Create opportunities for peer support, personal empowerment and selfdetermination - Overcome stigma and discrimination preventing them from seeking help 18 REACHING OUT TO STUDENTS - Search the College Website

- Connect with Student Organizations Focused on Mental Health - Find out about Services and Resources for Students with Disabilities - Ask Students What they Want and Need 19 CONNECT WITH STUDENT

ORGANIZATIONS - Active Minds - NAMI-on-Campus - Student Health Advocates - Student Government - Student Clubs 20 CAMPUS SERVICES AND RESOURCES

- Office for Students with Disabilities - Counseling and Psychological Services - Office of Residential Life - LGBT Center - Student Government 21 FIND OUT WHAT STUDENTS NEED AND WANT - Attend student conferences and

meetings - Find out about events on campus - Go to student organization Facebook pages - Create and distribute a survey 22 WHAT STUDENTS WANT TO LEARN ABOUT - Students Rights in Higher Education

- Reasonable Accommodations - Overcoming Stigma and Discrimination - Self-Advocacy & Communication Skills - How to Facilitate a Peer Self-Advocacy Group 23 Students Rights & Concerns: Reasonable

Accommodations 24 THE IMPORTANCE OF LEARNING OUR RIGHTS - Protection against discrimination - Access to opportunities and services - Assistance with making informed life decisions - Support to advocate for ourselves

- Development of confidence, personal responsibility and self-reliance 25 ITS OUR RIGHT! Nondiscrimination on the basis of disability by colleges and universities is a civil right guaranteed by law.

26 WHAT ARE STUDENTS RIGHTS? Title II - Americans Section 504 with Disabilities Act of Rehabilitation Act of 1990 1973

Prohibits all state and local Prohibits any program governmental entities, receiving federal including public colleges financial assistance from and universities, from discriminating against an discriminating against individual because of his people with disabilities.

or her disability. 27 DEFINITION OF DISABILITY A person has a mental or physical impairment or is thought to have a mental or physical impairment that substantially limits a major life activity -- seeing, hearing, walking, learning, reading, concentrating, thinking, and communicating, and is

expected to last or has lasted at least 6 months (42 U.S.C. 12102). 28 REASONABLE ACCOMMODATIONS Schools must make reasonable modifications in their practices, policies and procedures and provide auxiliary aids and services for persons with disabilities

unless they would fundamentally alter the nature of goods, services, facilities, privileges and advantages, or if doing so would result in an undue burden. (28 C.F.R. 36.104). 29 WHAT IS REQUIRED TO QUALIFY - School has the right to require proof of

disability - Documentation of disability must reflect current abilities and limitations - QUIZ: Who has the right to know about your disability? 30 BASIC CATEGORIES OF ACCOMMODATIONS

- Time Management - Memory - Maintaining Concentration - Organization and Prioritization - Social Skills - Completing Course Requirements - Test-Taking - Housing 31

How to Request Reasonable Accommodations Go to the Office that Serves Students with Disabilities Identify yourself as a student with a disability and how it affects your participation in school Ask about the accommodation process

Find required forms on campus website 32 33 TIPS FOR REQUESTING ACCOMMODATIONS - Know your rights and responsibilities. - Request accommodations as soon as you

know you need them. - Provide proper documentation and get your accommodation plan in writing. - Know yourself and what accommodations you need. 34 TIPS FOR REQUESTING ACCOMMODATIONS - Take an active role its an interactive

process and negotiation may be necessary! - Bring a support person to appointments. - Remember: Each school is different and may require different documentation. 35 CHALLENGES IN THE ACCOMMODATION PROCESS While California regulations provide an inclusive list of the kinds of services

and accommodations that can be provided, the process of obtaining these services may be difficult for a student with a mental health disability to navigate. 36 CHALLENGES IN THE ACCOMMODATION PROCESS - Counselors may lack training & sensitivity about mental health.

- Professors may lack knowledge about legal rights to accommodations. - Potential delays in filing disability paperwork. 37 CHALLENGES IN THE ACCOMMODATION PROCESS - Outside providers may not be

aware of accommodations. - Others may not believe you have a disability. 38 EXAMPLES OF DISCRIMINATION A professor refused to reschedule an exam the student missed because he had been hospitalized for a mental health disability.

Another student was evicted from her student housing when she had an episode as a result of her mental health disability. 39 IF YOUR REQUEST IS DENIED - Try to resolve it informally through private mediation with support from your allies. - File an internal grievance. - File a complaint with the Office for Civil

Rights or the Federal Department of Education or the US Department of Justice. - File a lawsuit. 40 STUDENT RESOURCES - Rights of Students with Disabilities in Higher Education - A Guide for College and University Students (July 2013, Pub #5309.01) - JAN (Job Accommodation Network): - The Bazelon Center: Campus-Mental-Health-Policy-Documents.aspx 41 INTERACTIVE SCENARIOS 42

Teaching Peer SelfAdvocacy 43 WHAT IS PEER SELF-ADVOCACY - Deciding what you want - Developing a plan to get what you want - Learning new skills and asking people to help you

- Carrying out that plan - Evaluating how you did 44 To be a successful selfadvocate, the first step begins with knowledge about yourself. 45 You will need to know your

strengths, needs, interests and goals before you can begin to advocate for your own rights. 46 YOU DECIDE! - The main goal is for you to decide what you want to change or accomplish. - Through self-advocacy, you will learn

new strategies, resources and information to develop your own plan and work with others to achieve your goals. 47 Self-Advocacy empowers you to speak for yourself and actively participate in the decisions affecting your life.

48 STEPS TOWARD SELF-ADVOCACY - Define the problem. - Develop an action plan. - Carry out the action plan. - Negotiate for what you want. - Document, document! - Evaluate how you did.

- If needed, adjust your strategy. 49 Training Peer Facilitators 50 STARTING A PEER SELFADVOCACY GROUP

- Why start a peer self-advocacy group on campus? - What needs do you and other students have that are not being met? - What do you have in common? - How would a student-led self-advocacy group be helpful? 51

STEPS TO STARTING A SELF-ADVOCACY GROUP - Find out if students are interested. - Get the word out about the group. - Give information to fellow students to announce and describe the group. - Decide where and when to have group meetings. - Arrange a meeting space. 52

THE FIRST GROUP MEETING - Discuss and decide on group guidelines. - Share your goals for the group and ask about group members goals. - Establish a group identity. - Vote on a topic (you might bring a sample list of suggestions). 53

GROUND RULES AND AGREEMENTS - Confidentiality what is said in the room, stays in the room. - Everyones opinion counts. - Respect one another. - Does anyone have ground rules they would like to add? 54

ROLE OF THE GROUP FACILITATOR(S) - Communicate positively and effectively. - Listen and speak respectfully. - Keep the dialogue open, focused and moving forward. - Respect personal and cultural factors. - Use plain language. 55

GROUP FACILITATION STRATEGIES - Have a parking lot for ideas not related to the topic. - Ask open-ended questions to encourage discussion. - Focus on issues, not personalities (i.e., The issue is reasonable accommodations, not whether Marco should have any.).

56 GROUP FACILITATION STRATEGIES - Ask participants what they think before sharing your own thoughts. - Meet with participants after the group meeting if they have individual questions or concerns. 57

INTERACTIVE ROLE-PLAYS 58 ANY QUESTIONS OR COMMENTS? Please take a moment to complete our workshop

evaluations. Theyll help us learn what works and what doesnt! 59

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