Enhancing Accessibility in Post-Secondary Education Institutions
Outreach and Awareness
Students with mental health disabilities may be afraid to disclose their disorder or are unaware that their disorder qualifies them for disability services. The following suggestions have been successfully utilized by PSE institutions across Canada.
- Develop an outreach plan specifically for those with mental health issues to increase awareness and uptake of services.
- When reaching out to students with mental health disabilities, it is important to stress that individuals who have their symptoms under control should still register with the disabilities office as this will make it easier to receive services and accommodations in the event that the illness becomes disabling.
- Have staff members or student volunteers conduct outreach activities to help raise awareness of mental health issues and services. This could include depression self-screening services at major events or presentations to students, staff and faculty on how to recognize distress signals and access help.
- Stigma and discrimination is an issue many students with mental health disabilities face and can have a large impact on both their academic and social life. It is important to educate and raise awareness of mental health issues throughout the entire campus by using, for example, education and training initiatives for staff, faculty and students, or more general awareness and anti-stigma campaigns on campus.