Enhancing Accessibility in Post-Secondary Education Institutions
With advances in medications, treatment and the increasing empowerment of those with mental health disabilities, students with mental health disabilities are increasingly able to access and complete post-secondary education. However, those with mental health disabilities often experience difficulty accessing services and accommodations that suit their needs due, in part, to the episodic and “invisible” nature of their disability, the stigma surrounding mental health disabilities, and the fact that accommodation for mental health disabilities is a relatively new practice.
Most university and college campuses have counseling services which offer a variety of information and services for those with mental health issues. However, most of these offices support students on a short-term, emergency basis, focus on the student’s personal health, and are not meant to provide academic accommodations.
While many students do suffer from bouts of anxiety, stress or depression that can be handled through short-term counseling, more and more students are arriving on campus dealing with serious mental health disabilities such as schizophrenia, post-traumatic stress disorder, eating disorders or self-injury that require a more holistic and long-term approach.
The following are some promising practices from PSE institutions on how to address services for students with mental health disabilities:
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