Education is difficult enough without worrying about money. Add a mental illness and life can become overwhelming. One way to help deal with that problem is to alleviate financial stress. Both grants and loans are available for persons suffering from a mental illness. Grants, however, do not need to be paid back. There are many grants specifically designed to help students with mental disabilities who are enrolled in everything from technical school to graduate school.
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Lily Reintegration Scholarship
One of the most popular scholarships on the Internet, the Lily Reintegration scholarship, is solely for students, "with schizophrenia, schizophreniform, schizoaffective disorder, or bipolar disorder...(who are) currently receiving medical treatment..." and are making an effort to be well. According to the guidelines, this is demonstrated by, "clubhouse membership, part-time work, volunteer efforts or school enrolment." A large variety of academic programs can be supported by the Lilly Reintegration Scholarship, from high school equivalency programs to graduate degrees. (See website at reintegration.com/resources/scholarships/apply.asp).
The Charles A. Olayinka Scholarship was established to help, "those diagnosed with bipolar disorder achieve their ultimate academic goals.... to help raise public awareness of how negative stereotypes affect the mentally ill." The theory is that testifying about their disabilities will help those with severe depression manage their illness effectively and, " give others living with the disease the impetus to climb out of the downward spiral of emptiness and despair, and deal positively and constructively with their disease, thereby scoring a resounding 'check mate' for mental illness." (peacecharlie.com) (Scholarship is for £650 annually.)
The Bipolar-Lives scholarship judges are looking for "factual, useful info on bipolar disorder, NOT personal stories." Although Bipolar-Lives offers a scholarship for mentally disabled people, Sarah, the creator of the website, bipolar-lives.com, suggests applying for scholarships all over the board, making your decisions based on what interests you. She writes, "Bipolar is just an interesting part of your story that shows you have worked extra hard and know what it is to triumph over adversity!" (http://www.bipolar-lives.com/bipolar-scholarships-entries.html £325 or £487, annually.)
If you speak Spanish and live in Texas, you might be interested in the Hogg Foundation for Mental Health grant. (http://www.hogg.utexas.edu/funding_bilingualscholar.html) While not exclusively for people with mental illness, the scholarship goes to Social Work students, as the Foundation's goal is to have more diversity in the workplace. There is a catch, though. You are required to work in Texas for a period equal to the length of time you received the scholarship. For example, if you received it for two years, you will be required to work in Texas for two years.
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