Enhancing Accessibility in Post-Secondary Education Institutions
With the growing population of students with mental health disabilities within PSE institutions, many institutions are expanding their services to include a variety of innovative and holistic approaches to mental health. The following are some best practices from PSE institutions across Canada.
- Along with individual counselling, some PSE institutions offer these other services in relation to students with mental health disabilities:
- Group and/or family counselling which includes friends and family members.
- Workshops on a variety of mental health topics available to students, staff and faculty either on demand, or scheduled in advance.
- On-campus training courses such as suicide prevention training, mental health first-aid, or general wellness techniques. Courses could be mandatory for certain staff members but open to students, staff and faculty. Certain courses could be made available to the public for a fee.
- Peer support programs where student volunteers, trained in suicide prevention and supportive listening, are available for peer support. This could be done through peer support groups, or one-on-one support by phone, email, or in person. Provide volunteers with an extensive list of resources and referral information.
- Crisis/emergency counselling which would be available without appointment and on a same-day basis for those who are experiencing an urgent need. Crisis/emergency services could also include counselling for individuals or larger groups who have been affected by a tragedy.
- Consultation services for students, staff or faculty who might be concerned about the behaviour of another individual.
- Allow students to access these services through a variety of means such as telephone, e-mail, drop-in, or appointment. Whenever possible, have some point of contact available 24 hours a day in the event of an emergency.
- Provide information and resources on a variety of topics and issues in a variety of different formats and for a variety of different audiences. Include resources in the office and on the internet.
As services are often open only to full and part-time undergraduate and graduate students, consider extending services to alumni, previously registered, and prospective students, if resource permit.