Skip to main content

Mental Health Update

September 13, 2023
Mental Health Update

Impact of Yale Settlement Agreement for Students with Mental Health Issues

Listed below is a recent review from MHANYS Senior Advisor and Counsel, John Tauriello’s analysis of the recent Yale University Class Action Agreement around the impact of medical leave absences related to mental health needs. This could have a profound effect around the college mental health legislation introduced last session that called for a whole health parity approach to treat leaves of absences, readmissions and withdrawals for mental health issues much like you would treat a physical health issue.   This will be a major agenda item for MHANYS in the next legislative session.


On August 25, 2023, Yale University entered into an agreement to settle a class-action lawsuit in Connecticut federal District Court, brought by students seeking medical leaves of absence for reasons related to mental health needs. The settlement agreement requires the establishment new policies regarding student medical leaves of absence and withdrawal, readmission, and reasonable accommodations for students with mental health issues.  It is a comprehensive settlement and may serve as a template for other colleges that revise their medical leave and reasonable accommodation policies for students with mental health needs.


   Settlement agreement can be found here: 54 – Joint Motion for Settlement w Ex 1

    The new policies under the settlement agreement can be found here:

Brief summary of Yale’s new or revised practices and accommodations:

– A new medical leave of absence policy is implemented, including an appeal process.

– New Withdrawal and Return policies will permit students to request leaves of absences, without undue financial penalties.

– Students on leaves of absence generally shall be reinstated with appropriate medical documentation.

– While on leave students may visit the campus, have access to email, library, campus employment, etc., unless there is a significant risk to health or safety of the student or others.

– Students will have access to a variety of reasonable accommodations (beyond the new medical leave of absence and return policies), that Yale will implement in academics, housing, and the campus community.

– Part time coursework is now permitted.

– Incoming students may petition for a postponement of admission.


In addition, Yale has engaged a national expert to train faculty, administrators, athletic coaches, and other staff regarding the implementation of this agreement. Faculty, staff in student-facing positions, and athletic coaches will receive annual information regarding disability law, mental health, reasonable accommodations, and best practices.   Yale will also provide training to on-campus mental health counselors to ensure culturally competent mental health services.