Companies have sprung up to help students with mental health issues navigate college life


When Scot Marken’s son started applying to college, Marken soon realized it would be more complicated than just figuring out what the main schools offered or what the party scene was like.

He said his son had mental health issues and what he described as “mild autism”. Her son had always gone to small schools, where there was a lot of support.

Now her son wanted to go to a big school, and “so I was nervous about that,” Marken said.

By helping his son understand, Marken saw the opportunity for a new venture. Today, his company, EdRedefined, helps students like his son navigate the application process. And more and more companies are springing up to help students struggling with mental health issues succeed in college.

Marken’s work begins with an assessment of a student’s situation to determine things like how prepared a student is to live independently. He said he asks students and their families questions such as, “What knowledge do they have of their diagnosis? Are they currently receiving therapy? Are they currently taking medication? How much [do] do they know about this drug? »

Some students with mental health needs need to take fewer courses each term, which can mean more semesters to graduate. Others need to find new therapists, and those near campus may be out of the grid. Marken also helps students think through things like testing accommodations and how to apply.

But sometimes students need more help than that.

A mental health care company called The Dorm helps 18- to 30-year-olds, offering care for everything from serious mental illness to addiction, at sites in New York and D.C. The programs are designed to help clients with illness mental health to prepare for college life or to return to campus if they’ve taken time off.

“I like to say that our treatment model here really resembles a college class schedule,” said Sarah Harte, DC branch manager. “They really come and go from our location the same way they would on a college campus.”

The spaces are meant to feel like a campus rather than a clinic, and provide customers with ways to connect with their peers.

But none of this comes cheap: Families have to pay upfront. Harte said the lowest level of care starts at $150 an hour in Washington, but the most intensive treatment can cost up to $20,000 a month.

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