A Mental Health Snapshot of the 2016 Canadian Graduate and Professional Student Survey (CGPSS) Data
Ottawa, May 31, 2019
As part of the “Landscape of Accessibility and Accommodation for Post-Secondary Students With Disabilities in Canada” national study, the National Educational Association of Disabled Students (NEADS) conducted detailed analysis of the 2016 Canadian Graduate and Professional Student Survey (CGPSS) to examine the experiences of 2,324 graduate students who identified as having a disability. We previously released reports in which we compared graduate students with and without disabilities. part-time and full-time graduate students with disabilities, STEM and non-STEM students with disabilities, and Aboriginal students with disabilities. We are pleased to now share the next report in this series.
This report first reports on data relating to the prevalence of the examined disabilities and then focuses on those with mental health disabilities. Further, we compared survey responses across 4 groups:
- students with one disability (but not mental health);
- students with more than one disability (but none are mental health);
- students with a mental health disability (and no other disability); and
- students with a mental health disability as well as another disability.
The analyses as well as the report for this work were completed by Kathleen Clarke, a Research Associate at NEADS.
Among the findings from this report are the following highlights:
- Of the 2,166 respondents included in these analyses, 46% reported they had a mental health disability and 32% reported they had a learning disability.
- 31% of the sample reported that they had more than one disability.
- Of the 1,487 participants who reported they had 1 disability, 33% of them identified mental health as their condition.
- Of those surveyed, more students with disabilities are female (67%) in comparison to students without disabilities (58%).
- Fewer males identified as having only a mental health disability.
- Students with disabilities are typically older.
- Of students surveyed, the ‘youngest’ were those with a mental health disability.
- Similarly, of those surveyed, the ‘oldest’ were those who identified as having 2 or more disabilities but none of which were mental health.
- These findings suggest there may be some relationship between age and number of disability / type of disability.
- 31.31% of male students surveyed identified as having a mental health disability as well as another disability, and 68.69% of female students identified as having a mental health disability as well as another disability.
- Participants with a mental health disability rated institutional efforts to accommodate their disability or impairment slightly more favourably than those with other types of disabilities.
- There were differences between students who reported that they had one disability compared to those who reported they had multiple disabilities.
- For example, 18% of those who identified as having one disability (not mental health) and 19% of those with a mental health disability reported the advice on availability of financial support at their university was poor. Conversely, 29% of those with 2 or more disabilities (not including a mental health disability) and 28% of those with 2 or more (one of which included a mental health disability) reported this advice was poor.
- Also there were slight differences based on disability type:
For example, 48% of those with a mental health disability and 51% of those with a mental health disability as well as another disability reported that they never attended organized social activities at their school within their advisors’ research group. On the other hand, 42% of those with one disability (not mental health) and 36% of those with more than one disability that didn’t include mental health responded in the same way.
The NEADS Mental Health Snapshot of the 2016 Canadian Graduate and Professional Student Survey (CGPSS) report includes information on a variety of fascinating topics which give a full picture of the profile and experiences of respondents with their graduate studies, including details on field of study; quality of academic advising and guidance; opportunities in the academic program for internships, practicums and experiential learning; university life and services utilized such as library, research laboratories, career services and student financial aid offices.
The full report with all findings can be found at the bottom of this press release in Word and PDF formats.
NEADS would like to thank the Canadian Association of Graduate Studies ?(CAGS) for organizing this survey and for also granting access to the data for analyses. Additionally, NEADS gratefully acknowledges grant funding support for this research from the Social Development Partnerships Program, Employment and Social Development Canada; the Ontario Human Capital Research and Innovation Fund, Government of Ontario; CERIC, formerly known by the full name, the Canadian Education and Research Institute for Counselling.
For further information about this research contact our national office:
National Educational Association of Disabled Students (NEADS)
Rm. 514 Unicentre, Carleton University
Ottawa, Ontario, K1S 5B6, tel. (613) 380-8065, ext. 201
Download and read the report here in Word and PDF formats:
Mental Health Report Word Document