As campus misconduct attorneys, we regularly work with students in crisis. Our experience has shown us that mental health issues among students have been on the rise in recent years. Whether it’s due to social isolation or the overall disruption to day-to-day living, students have been struggling. In fact, back in December, we wrote about the United States Surgeon General’s advisory on the youth mental health crisis in our country. Responding to that advisory, we offered ten recommendations for helping to foster wellness in students so that they can navigate and withstand the pressures of high school and college.
Student Mental Health Crisis
For an already fragile student – and even an otherwise healthy student – campus misconduct allegations can take a devastating toll on a student’s mental health. A student must continue to attend class and stay on top of assignments while facing student conduct charges that could potentially lead to suspension or expulsion. It’s not unusual for a student facing campus misconduct allegations to feel totally overwhelmed and eventually shut down. While it’s normal for students to feel worried and anxious, many of our clients experience acute depression and anxiety, eating disorders, and even turn to cutting and substance abuse. We’ve seen students faced with the difficult decision of whether to take a leave of absence from school.
Regrettably, we’ve even handled cases involving student suicide. Recently, the New York Times chronicled the rise in teenage suicide and the student mental health crisis. While the issue is too complex to pinpoint one precise cause, researchers express concern about how students today, starting around age twelve, are inundated with information from media outlets and social media that’s understandably difficult for developing brains to process. Interestingly, despite students’ constant access to their phones, students report regular feelings of loneliness.
It’s Okay to Seek Professional Help
Fortunately, there are campus resources available to students. Students do not have to suffer in silence or feel totally alone. Most schools offer free in-person counseling services for students, in addition to telehealth options. College campuses have become adept at navigating technology and, generally, students can access on-campus mental health support with little wait for an appointment. Additionally, students should not hesitate to request accommodations, either academic or otherwise. A student facing campus misconduct allegations can speak with a student conduct administrator to learn more about the school’s office of disability services and other non-academic accommodations available, such as housing accommodations.
If you are facing campus misconduct allegations and need assistance, please contact KJK Student & Athlete Defense attorneys Susan Stone (SCS@kjk.com; 216.736.7220) or Kristina Supler (KWS@kjk.com; 216.736.7217).