Too often, mental illness on college and university campuses goes unreported. This is not because of apathy. Rather, the school usually is afraid to violate the student’s privacy rights. When the parents receive information that information is often incomplete. This is because once a student turns 18, Colleges and Universities has limits on what they can disclose to family without a release signed by the Student.
Unfortunately, failing to recognize and fully respond to the warning signs of mental illness may only harm and not help the situation. In some cases, it leads to fatal tragedies that could have been prevented. In other cases, this leads to the student not receiving the mental health care they need in a timely matter. Studies show that most people with mental illness during their lifetime first experience symptoms as young adults. Furthermore, recent studies show that first episode treatment is singularly effective in reducing the long-term impact of mental illness. Only with full access to information can families and trusted persons gain the information they need to support the student in their receipt of appropriate treatment. When family members and school officials know their rights, they are empowered to take action and do what is best for students.
With mental health concerns in schools increasing, the law is evolving to create increasing clarity on the responsibilities school’s owe to their students.
At Blake Law we assist the parents of children who are exhibiting some concerning behavior at college. You don’t need to be able to label it to call us and get a completely confidential attorney to assist. We also are happy to assist institutes of higher education create policies and procedures for dealing with student mental health issues. We educate our clients how they can handle the situation without violating students’ rights and incurring extra liability.
If you would like to discuss a situation you are facing with a lawyer at our firm, call us at 617-723-3224 or contact us online.