The fact sheet "Supporting and Protecting the Rights of Students at Risk of Self-Harm in the Era of COVID-19" gives information on civil rights laws that defend students dealing with mental health disabilities.
Students "may be experiencing mental health disabilities for the first time. In some situations, there may be a risk that a student will engage in self-harm or consider suicide," the fact sheet announced.
"The Department of Justice is committed to safeguarding the rights of students with mental health disabilities through vigorous enforcement of the civil rights laws, particularly given the continuing effects of the pandemic," announced Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the DOJ's Civil Rights Division, according to a DOJ press release. "Students should be supported and not excluded from educational opportunities on the basis of disability."
Acting Assistant Education Secretary for Civil Rights Suzanne Goldberg said the effects of the pandemic on student mental health are "widespread and deeply concerning."
"OCR is committed to providing resources to support students with mental health disabilities, including those who may be at risk for self-harm," Goldberg went on.
The press release announced it is essential to acknowledge COVID-19's "impact on mental health at home and around the world to present an opportunity for meaningful conversations about mental health, and to celebrate schools and other institutions that have found new and promising ways to provide mental health services to their populations."
World Mental Health Day is an international day to raise awareness of mental health issues worldwide and mobilize efforts in support of mental health.
Current research focuses mainly on mental health status and related factors in the COVID-19 pandemic among Chinese university students. Data from 11133 participants was collected via an online survey. The Patient Health Question-9 (PHQ-9) was applied to evaluate depressive symptoms.
The Social Support Rate Scale (SSRS) was used to evaluate social support. The universities conducting the survey further used the 7-item Generalized Anxiety Disorder Scale (GAD-7) to evaluate anxiety symptoms. 37.0% of the subjects were undergoing depressive symptoms, 24.9% anxiety symptoms, 20.9% comorbid depressive and anxiety symptoms, and 7.3% suicidal ideation. Multivariable logistic regression analysis revealed enhanced mental health difficulties in female students, graduate students, and those with personal COVID-19 exposure.
Awareness of COVID-19, living with the family were protective factors that reduced anxiety and depression symptoms. Furthermore, male, personal COVID-19 exposure, depressive and anxiety symptoms were risk factors for suicidal ideation. Social support, COVID-19 preventive and control measures, prediction of COVID-19 trends, living with family and graduate students are protective factors for reducing suicidal ideation.