Student Disability Allowance (DSA) budget cuts and depression

Being diagnosed with dyslexia I know that without my DSA support at University I would have struggled to graduate from my degree in psychology. With the recent budget cuts this week, research has emerged that around 70% of university students will be affected and put at risk.

Already students are struggling to cope with exam pressure and expectations.

So how are these cuts going to affect a student’s mental health?

According to the DSA funding is available for students with a long-term health condition, mental health condition or specific learning condition such as dyslexia. I cannot help wondering if the funding were cut whilst I was at university how would I have managed?

According to statistics approximately 20 percent of teens will experience depression before they reach adulthood. Furthermore depression increases a teen’s risk for attempting suicide by 12 times. Depression is an illness that increasingly afflicts teenagers interfering with concentration, motivation and many other aspects of everyday functioning. It affects many systems of the body, including the immune system. It disrupts sleep, and interferes with appetite.

However there are many ways to support your teenager at school or university.

Here are 10 ways you can help them with depression;

1)    Be there for them, it is not easy seeing your child suffer from depression but offering them your time even if it is to just listen can be just what they need.

2)    Give frequent feedback on academic, social, and behavioral performance.

3)    Encourage your child to set goals and self-monitor.

4)    Promote problem-solving skills.

5)    Coach your child in ways to organize, plan, and execute tasks demanded daily or weekly in school.

6)    Develop modifications and accommodations to respond to the student's fluctuations in mood, ability to concentrate, or side effects of medication. Assign one individual to serve as a primary contact and coordinate interventions.

7)    Give the student opportunities to engage in social interactions.

8)    Frequently monitor whether the student has suicidal thoughts.

9)    Develop a home–school communication system to share information on the student's academic, social, and emotional behavior and any developments concerning medication or side effects.

10) Seek professional help from a teacher, counsellor, therapist or doctor.