Developing Documentation Standards and Guidelines for Academic Accommodations for Students with Mental Health Disabilities Attending Postsecondary Institutions in Ontario – MHIF (Round 1)
This project was a joint venture between St. Lawrence College and Queen’s University funded by the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities’ Mental Health Innovation Fund. The goals of the project included developing province-wide documentation standards and guidelines around academic accommodations for postsecondary students with mental health disabilities. It also sought to develop training for students, faculty, access/disability advisors, student leaders and administrators, on accommodating postsecondary students with mental health conditions and an information and resource handbook for students with mental health disabilities. Some of the background issues include:
- Increasing numbers of students with mental health issues in postsecondary education
- Variations in documentation requirements in the postsecondary system
- Concerns specific to mental health conditions: fluctuating symptoms (and functional limitations), temporary disruptions, impact of stigma on both help-seeking and institutional response, lack of mental health professionals, cost of documentation.
- Lack of awareness regarding mental health, accommodation processes.
The project produced three key deliverables, which are now available on-line and below.
1) A recommendation report that provides information about the project’s goals and the methodology as well as 14 recommendations for the postsecondary sector. The report also includes:
- A functional limitations assessment form for postsecondary students with a disability (p.39);
- A guide for regulated health care professionals (p. 36);
- A Behaviour of Concern Form for faculty and staff (p. 47) along with information on how the Chart may be implemented and customized
2) The project team created a series of eight accommodation-related videos for students, faculty, access/disability advisors, student leaders and administrators, dealing with various topics related to the accommodation process.
3) An information and resource handbook available in English and French, for students with mental health disabilities attending postsecondary education, and their families. The handbook contains information on the accommodation process, rights and responsibilities, how to manage your mental health on campus and mental health and the law. Information is provided on how this handbook can be customized for your institution.
A literature review undertaken by the research team has been accepted for publication in and will appear in the Fall, 2015 edition of the Journal of Postsecondary Education and Disability.
Reports & Resources:
For more information visit the project website: www.stlawrencecollege.ca/about/mental-health-research-project/
Dr. Mike Condra