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Year : 2022  |  Volume : 38  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 52-57

Academic difficulties among young persons with mental disorders

1 Psychologist, Department of Psychiatry, Schizophrenia Research Foundation, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India
2 Psychiatrist, Department of Psychiatry, Schizophrenia Research Foundation, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Vijaya Raghavan
Schizophrenia Research Foundation, R/7A, North Main Road, Anna Nagar West Extension, Chennai - 600 101, Tamil Nadu
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 0.4103/ijsp.ijsp_156_20

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Background: Various factors contribute the poor academic performance and discontinuation from schools among young people with mental disorders. The present study aimed to identify the difficulties and barriers posed by mental disorders; coping strategies to overcome them, and consolidate the recommendations made by students with mental illness and their parents to make education friendlier for students with mental illness. Materials and Methods: Semi-qualitative study was conducted in the outpatient department of the Schizophrenia Research Foundation, a mental health center and nonprofit organization based in Chennai. All patients between 13 and 23 years with an International Classification of Diseases, Tenth Revision diagnosis of any psychiatric disorder, pursuing or discontinued studies within the last 2 years were included in the study. A qualitative interview pro forma was developed and used for interviewing the patients and their family members. Results: 60.3% of the individuals interviewed had a disruption in their academic endeavor lasting for a minimum period of 2 weeks wherein they could not attend class and 1–4 such disruptions per individual in the last 2 years. Major difficulties cited by the participants were the interference of illness symptoms in academic performance, stress caused by difficulties in meeting academic requirements, and interpersonal stressors. Recommendations proposed by the participants were directed toward strategies for compensating the cognitive deficits caused by mental illness and special provisions in the examinations and evaluation. Conclusion: Acknowledging the difficulties faced by the students with mental illness and providing feasible provisions and concessions can go a long way in ensuring the students with mental illness receive a complete education.

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