- Professors often will confide in a colleague about mental health issues, but won't reach out to their institutions for more robust services, counseling or assistance, according to a new study by Margaret Price, associate professor of English and disability studies at Ohio State University.
- Inside Higher Ed reports that the study found that 70% of the respondents had little or no familiarity of accommodations they can access at work, and 87% did not use them. 62% spoke about their condition to someone at the college, but 21% informed department chairs, 6% spoke about it with a dean or provost, and 4% disclosed the issue to an “office of disability services.”
- Respondents to the survey reported they were concerned with the stigma of speaking with others about mental health issues, with some saying that they were concerned about gossip amongst administrators. Many respondents felt concerned about negative professional outcomes.
Across industries, employees who suffer from mental health issues are often reticent to speak to employers about issues because of a fear of stigma or even reprisal. Administrators in the short term may not be able to alleviate the concerns professors have with being open about mental health issues, though supervisors, including department chairs, deans, provosts and presidents, can work to ensure the work environment is a comfortable space where faculty members and staff feel valued and supported to help mitigate the demands of the job.
College administrators can ensure that educators have access to already-established mental health services on staff, services that are usually touted for use by students. However, expanding these services further will be an imposing task, as colleges and universities are struggling to keep pace with a spike in need for mental health care from students. Some schools report that students must wait as long as two or three weeks for a counseling appointment. As schools struggle with funding cuts and tighter budgets, schools may need to reallocate money to mental health services in lieu of other spending priorities in order to service the need.