How To Talk To Your Professor About Your Mental Health

Your psychological wellbeing affects every aspect of your life, including how well you do in classIf you are struggling with your mental health and youd like to talk to your professor about it, set up an office hours appointment with them, ask if you can make up any missed assignments you may haveand keep checking in with your professor throughout the termIt may seem intimidating, but you can have an open and honest chat about mental health with your professor.

Knowing When To Talk To Your Professor
Email your professor before the term starts if you know you may struggleIf your mental health has gotten in the way of class before, you may know it could be an issue before it even happensLoop your professor in before the term or semester starts and let them know why you might miss class or be late sometimesLetting them know early will make your professor much more accommodating and willing to work with you.

• Send a short email saying, “Hi Professor, I’m in your Math 200 class this term and I just wanted to let you know that I have been struggling with my mental health latelyThis may cause me to miss or 2 classes or be late on some assignments. I’d like to set up an office hours appointment with you to discuss my action plan for this class.
• Try not to sound like you are asking for special treatmentInsteadframe it as cluing your professor in.

Talk to your professor as soon as you start missing assignmentsOnce you miss one assignment, it can snowball until your grade cannot be savedIf you notice that your mental health is causing you to fall behind in classlet your professor know right away why this is happeningDo not wait until you have a failing grade.

Tip: Try to talk to your professor in the beginning half of the term or semesterThat way, you still have time to make up work or do extra credit if they allow you to. Let your professor know why you’ve missed a classNot all college classes take attendance, but some require you to be in class to get participation pointsIf you do miss class because of your mental health, talk to your professor and explain that you were gone because of an illness, and that it may happen againProfessors will appreciate knowing that you didnt skip their class out of laziness or boredom.

• You may not be able to make up participation points that you missed during class.
Avoid lying or making up excusesIf youve missed a class or an assignment and you want to explain it to your professor, do not make something up or invent a family emergencyIf you are considering making up fake reason to excuse your behavior, it is probably time to talk to your professorAsk to meet with them about your missed class work.
Do your best to turn your work in on time, even if you’re strugglingIn college, some professors may not accept late or extra credit work at allTurn in any work that you can as close to the due dateEven if you only do half of an assignment, you can at least get partial credit.

• You may get participation points for attending classTry to go to as many classes as you can.

Explaining Your Mental Health

Make an office hours appointment with your professorIt will be much easier to talk to your professor about a sensitive subject if you are oneonone with them and they have no distractionsSet up an appointment with them so that they are expecting you and there wont be any other students around.
Tip: Most professors tell you their office hours at the beginning of the yearCheck your class syllabus if you are unsure on how to make an appointment. Share what you are comfortable disclosing. Your professor doesnt need to know your entire mental health history if you are not comfortable telling it to themStick to the relevant facts that
have led you to struggle in their class or fall behind on your course loadReferencing a decline in your mental health should be enough to get your message across.
• For example, you could say, “Ive been struggling with my mental health lately and I can tell it’s affecting my productivity in your class.
Take accountability for your actionsAlthough it’s great to tell your professor why you’ve been struggling, try not to make excuses for yourselfYour professor will appreciate that you’ve told them why your classwork is declining, and they will also appreciate you acknowledging that it is your responsibility to make up for it.
• Try saying, “My struggles with mental health have caused me to miss the last classes, and this has knocked my grade down quite bit. Is there any extra credit work or late assignment credit you could give me to make up for it?”

Ask about mental health 
resources available to youOften, college campuses have resources available to students who are struggling with mental healthThe counseling center, health center, or nonprofit mental health groups on your campus are usually free for students and willing to help youAsk your professor if they know of any resources to prove to them that you are actively working on bettering your mental health.
• Ask something like, “I know need support to get through thisDo you know of any resources on campus that might be helpful to me?
Keep checking in with your professor throughout the term. An initial meeting is great to let your professor know about your struggles, but if you are continuing to fall behind in class, be sure to keep your professor in the loopLet them know if you are still having problems with your mental health and what you are doing to improve upon itSend them a quick email or set up another office hours appointment to chat with your professor again.
• For example, you could say, “Hi Professor, just wanted to check in with you. I didn’t turn in the last
assignment because 
am still struggling with my mental health. I will work harder this week and try my best to complete the homework.

If you or someone you know is in crisis, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
at 1
8002738255 to connect to a local crisis center or text MHA to 741741 to connect to a
trained Crisis Counselor 
24/7You can also call 911 or visit your local emergency room.

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