Mental health is important

One thing I’ve noticed is that employers and instructors have been quick to dismiss claims of mental suffering as a legitimate reason for absences or missing assignments.

Instructors seem compassionate towards students with outward injuries. It’s easy to exonerate the student who just got over the flu, but you can’t spare any for the kid who finds it hard to even get out of bed in the morning?

Students will lie about a lot of things to get out of class so an instructor might write off someone’s mental health issue as a ‘cheap excuse’ to ditch. However, these ‘cheap excuses’ often turn out to be feelings associated with mental illnesses, which make it difficult for a person to focus on things going on at school.

According to an article by Alan Reifman in Psychology Today, 24 percent of college students are on medication for anxiety, depression and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Teens with untreated mental issues who are 14 years or older have a 50 percent chance of dropping out of school.

According to figures compiled by the Mental Health Foundation, one in 20 people suffer from clinical depression. When exacerbated by the stress of balancing your schoolwork and personal life, this can induce severe depression possibly resulting in suicidal tendencies.

People often turn to unhealthy outlets to relieve themselves of the pressure related to daily stress. Acts such as binge drinking, punching, pulling out one’s own hair and cutting are common forms of self-destructive behavior. According to a fact sheet on, it is estimated that two million people engage in this dangerous behavior.

Of course instructors encounter ridiculous excuses that can accurately be chalked up to pure lethargy from but it’s a little difficult to blame it on laziness when having crying fits in class and having to excuse yourself at least once a week to have panic attacks become a normal Thursday.

So if you’re a professor you have to make that choice. Do you really want to flirt with consequences of ignoring someone’s fragile state of mind?

One of the most serious mental disorders is schizophrenia. Roughly six percent of the population is affected by this condition. Though its origins aren’t rooted in stress, stressful situations undoubtedly make symptoms worse. It’s no coincidence that the early stages of the disorder often appear in people ages 16 to 25-when you are in high school or college.

It just doesn’t seem like anyone in a position of authority considers these situations. There are professors who ask if you have any medical conditions they should know about and some that students are too embarrassed to tell teachers about if they have an issue that would affect them mentally throughout the semester.

I know professors have it hard trying to distinguish whether or not something is a flimsy excuse or a serious ordeal. I know they can’t always bend over backward for every student who is overwhelmed by the pressure of schoolwork but if they could just try to be a bit more lenient and understanding I’m sure people would feel up to completing more of their work and showing up on time.

Schools need to provide mental health services for students and faculty and employers need to as well.