Yale University changes mental health policies after student lawsuit

Yale University has announced changes to its policy Supporting students’ mental healthIncluding allowing students to take time off from school.

The Connecticut-based Ivy League school said in an email to students Wednesday that they are now allowed to take time off from school for medical reasons instead of withdrawing.

In addition, students are now eligible for four vacation periods, an increase of two, can transition to co-op coverage for health insurance while on vacation and can use campus resources, such as the library, while on vacation.

“I wish no students had to face these kinds of situations, but some of you may,” said Yale College Dean Perils Lewis, referring to situations like family emergencies and illness. “If you do, I hope these updated policies will ease any concerns you may have about your student status, allowing you (and those who support you) to focus on what’s important.”

Yale’s president has been reviewing its expulsion policies since September. In his statement last November.

The new changes will come in less than two months A lawsuit was filed against YaleHe accused students with mental health disabilities of not being able to make the necessary accommodations and discriminating against them by making them drop out of school.

Photo: Students walk on the campus of Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut on September 27, 2018.

Students walk on the campus of Yale University on September 27, 2018 in New Haven, Connecticut.

Yana Paskova/Getty Images, File

The lawsuit, filed Nov. 30, includes accounts from two current students, three former students and the nonprofit group Ellis for Rachael, which represents several dozen others.

The nonprofit was founded last year after freshman Rachael Shaw-Rosenbaum took her own life, reflecting on the consequences of dropping out of Yale in several online posts before her death.

In the lawsuit, the plaintiffs argue that the university’s withdrawal policies promote punishment rather than a supportive environment for students with mental health disabilities, preventing many from seeking help. Their accounts detail the “horrific” experiences of being forced to drop out of school, and the obstacles they face only to return.

The university often pressures students to voluntarily withdraw if they disclose their mental health needs while seeking support and show severe symptoms, unless they apply for reinstatement after at least one semester. If the students refuse, the university’s policies allow for “involuntary withdrawals” and require students to “take leave without treating professionals or considering whether withdrawing would cause harm,” the suit says.

The lawsuit also alleges that some students may never seek the help they need, fearing the university’s withdrawal policy if their mental health issues are identified.

The case was filed a few weeks later A Washington Post article detailed similar allegations. From students and students.

Photo: A tour group stops at the Sterling Memorial Library on the campus of Yale University in New Haven on June 12, 2015.

A tour group stops at the Sterling Memorial Library on the campus of Yale University in New Haven, June 12, 2015.

Craig Warga/Bloomberg via Getty Images, File

In addition to making medical leave easier, the change announced by Yale on Thursday, too First reported by the Washington PostIt also makes it easier for students to return from vacation.

Students no longer need letters of reference, and the university has removed the requirement that students “remain constructively” during their leave of absence, according to Lewis’ email. Students on personal leave and medical leave are not required to pass every course they take in the first two semesters upon their return.

The newly announced change at Yale University comes amid data showing that student mental health needs are at an all-time low on college campuses across the country.

According to a national studyBy 2021, nearly three-quarters of college students reported severe to moderate psychological distress.

of A healthy mind studyMore than 60% of college students met criteria for at least one mental health problem in the 2020-2021 school year, which looked at more than 350,000 college students over eight years. Monitor, a journal of the American Psychological Association.

ABC News’ Amanda Sue contributed to this report.

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