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International Foundation Diploma and Mental Health Difficulties

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Challenges - this link takes you to more specific challenges association with learning.

Brief description of Mental Health Difficulties

The term mental health describes a sense of well being. It implies the capacity to live in a resourceful and fulfilling manner, having the resilience to deal with the challenges and obstacles that life and studying present.

Depression, stress and anxiety are the most common types of mental illness experienced by students, and it is common for students to lack confidence and have low self-esteem despite having the same full range of intellectual abilities as the population as a whole.

Read more detailed information about this impairment. Remember you can use the back button to return to this page.

Teaching strategies associated with mental health difficulties

These strategies are suggestions for inclusive teaching. This list should not be considered exhaustive and it is important to remember that all students are individuals and good practice for one student may not necessarily be good practice for another. You may also like to contact the Disability Specialist in your institution for further information. If you have any good practice that you would like to add to this list, please email your suggestions to

  • Provide sufficient time to discuss needs with the student before/during their initial teaching session.
  • Stress from new situations or pressure (especially for those who are away from home for the first time) may adversely affect people. Students should be made to feel welcome, at ease and confident. It may take time for students to settle into new situations, develop confidence and demonstrate abilities to the full. Allowances may need to be made for this.
  • People with mental health difficulties may have experienced rejection by those who have not understood their needs. Establishing a good relationship with plenty of encouragement can prove extremely helpful. Aim to discuss the matter as fully as possible with the individual student in order to discover what situations they feel most comfortable and able to deal with.
  • Students can sometimes be withdrawn or disruptive due to lack of understanding of tasks, or a feeling of inadequacy to demands. Being aware of this possibility allows tutors to intercede and attempt to break the cycle of failure.
  • Students may be forced to miss lectures of tutorials as a result of their difficulties. Tutors can help by assisting students to keep up with course materials, ensuring that they receive back copies of handouts/lecture notes.
  • If students are able to work for only limited amounts of time, allow extensions for submission of assignments taking care to monitor the student to ensure they are not building up a large backlog of work.
  • Help students to manage their time and organise work; breaking tasks down into manageable chunks.
  • Assessment, particularly formal assessments such as assignments and examinations can be very stressful students, this may lead to a below standard performance. Practice and reassurance can help students to overcome this.
  • Some students may need access to a personal counsellor and may need to be encouraged to seek this help.
  • Occasionally, students on medication may experience side effects such as drowsiness. Be aware of this if performance is affected. 


Potential Challenges to the Achievement of Learning

Last modified 2007-07-31 01:52 PM

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