An emotional disability (also known as a psychiatric disability) refers to disorders such as depression and anxiety. Individuals with emotional disabilities experience significant emotional difficulties that may or may not require hospitalization. With treatment (e.g., psychotherapy, medication, support), most emotional disabilities can be controlled and/or cured.
Depression may be marked by a depressed mood most of each day, a lack of pleasure in most activities, feelings of worthlessness or guilt, insomnia, and thoughts of suicide.
NOTE: If you are experiencing significant thoughts of suicide, please contact BYU’s Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS; 1500 WSC; 801-422-3500). In addition to providing individual and group counseling, CAPS counselors are also available 24 hours per day to assist students in crisis. If you, or someone you know, are experiencing a personal crisis, you may call or walk in to CAPS between 8:00 am and 4:00 pm. If you have an emergency during non-business hours, contact BYU Police Dispatch (801-422-2222), and they will connect you with a CAPS counselor. If you or someone you know is in a life-threatening situation, call University Police (801-422-2222), 911, or go immediately to the nearest emergency room.
Anxiety disorders involve excessive anxiety and worry and can disrupt an individual’s ability to focus. Anxiety can cause dizziness, panic, hyperventilation, a racing heart, and chest pains.
Bipolar disorder can involve periods of mania and depression. In the manic phase, an individual may talk excessively, experience a decreased need for sleep, and experience inflated self-esteem.
Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a mental health condition that is triggered by either experiencing or witnessing a terrifying event. Symptoms may include nightmares, flashbacks, severe anxiety, and uncontrollable thoughts about the event.
Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) may be marked by unreasonable thoughts and fears (obsessions) that lead an individual to perform repetitive behaviors (compulsions). An individual may also be considered to have OCD if he or she has only obsessions or only compulsions.
If you have already been diagnosed with an emotional disability, there are a few steps necessary to receive help from the UAC:
1. Complete the online intake here.
2. Schedule an Intake Appointment with one of our emotional disability coordinators (LaNae Valentine, Donna Anderson, Clay Frandsen, or Aaron Allred) by telephoning 801-422-2767. This appointment will take about 60 minutes and will review your history and symptoms.
3. Bring a copy of your documentation supporting your diagnosis to the Intake Appointment. If you do not have written documentation of your emotional disorder, please print the Documentation of Disability form, have it completed by your mental health professional (e.g., psychologist, physician, psychiatrist, psychotherapist), and return it to the UAC in person or via fax (801-422-0174). The Documentation of Disability form can be found here. Your documentation of an emotional disability must be current (within the last two years) to qualify you for accommodations. If it is older, updated documentation will be necessary.
4. During your Intake Appointment, your coordinator will review your information and determine what accommodations are applicable and if required further evaluation is necessary.
1. Complete the online intake here.
2. Contact the UAC front desk (801-422-2767) and schedule an intake appointment with one of our emotional disability coordinators. This appointment will take about 60 minutes and will review your history and symptoms.
3. At your intake appointment, your coordinator will talk to you about visiting a mental health professional (e.g., psychologist, physician, psychiatrist, or psychotherapist) to see if you meet criteria for an emotional disability.
4. If you meet with a mental health professional and the professional diagnoses you with a disability, you will need to ask him/her to complete a Documentation of Disability form and return it to the UAC in person or via fax (801-422-0174). The Documentation of Disability form can be found here. As an alternative to the Documentation of Disability form, your mental health professional may also write the UAC a letter that discusses the diagnosis.
While the general convention is to have documentation of a disability before meeting with us, if you experience any problems obtaining documentation, please feel free to schedule an appointment with a coordinator, who will talk with you about your options. These options may possibly include receiving provisional accommodations or undergoing a diagnostic assessment in our office. However, it is probable that we will help connect you with resources outside of our office.