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Unlike physical health problems, mental health problems are rarely perceived as problems by the mentally ill, which tends to result in profound mental instability before intervention is considered. I think students with a history of mental illness have a responsibility to disclose their illness to school administration, so that the community can watch for indications that a student's mental health requires medical attention..
What are the other schools that might?
There are cases of depression, and yes, I am speaking from personal experience, that are not onset by stress at school (though it certainly doesn't help) but by other personal problems and the obvious biological factors. To simply state that a mentally ill (which is an even broader term) student can not handle the stress at a school like MIT reflects stunning ignorance to the nature of mental illness, in that it is dynamic.
In my opinion, the MOST important thing a student who has issues with mental illness must do...make sure your treatment plan...whatever it is (counseling, meds, etc) can and WILL be continued where you go to college.
I'm skeptical about the "chronic illness" idea.
ilpal--thanks so much for the kind words. This is really very new to us--just got the diagnosis last week, and the kid is now off for a two-week vacation. Won't even begin treatment til after that, and will start with weekly therapy appointments. Will only progress to medication if the therapy alone isn't working. It's going to be an interesting journey. I wonder where we'll be this time next year.