Helping Ontario's colleges and universities enhance capacity to support student mental health and well-being

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Think Outside the Box: Mental Health Accessibility Project

It’s often assumed that people with disabilities are hyper visible. It’s also often assumed that disability accommodations or accessibility measures are hyper visible, too. For example, when people think about disability and accessibility, they often picture accessible bathrooms, elevators and parking spaces.

The reality, of course, is that many disabilities, including mental health disabilities, are not visible. The same is true for effective accommodations or accessibility practices. In fact, we need to Think Outside the Box when it comes to mental health accessibility. It’s not about building ramps or widening doors – it’s about innovation and inclusion.

The goal of Think Outside the Box is to promote innovation in mental health accessibility and accommodation by:

  • Creating and sharing common principles for mental health accessibility and human rights
  • Sharing individual and organizational stories about innovation and inclusion
  • Providing accurate and reliable information about Ontario’s accessibility and human rights frameworks

Think Outside the Box diagram

 

Think Outside the Box is a Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA), Ontario initiative. Our work is advised and supported by ARCH Disability Law Centre, CMHA Champlain East, CMHA Middlesex, CMHA Sudbury/Manitoulin, CMHA York and South Simcoe and the Ontario Human Rights Commission.

In Ontario, the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005 (AODA) and the Ontario Human Rights Code require public- and private-sector organizations in Ontario to increase accessibility and provide accommodations for people with disabilities, including mental health-related disabilities. As leading mental health- or disability-organizations, we receive regular requests from public-sector stakeholders for advice. These requests often include misunderstandings or misinformation about the nature of mental health-related disabilities and what accessibility means in this context. It is our hope that this resource will provide stakeholders with the needed tools to develop their own accessibility solutions.

For other questions about Think Outside the Box, please contact the project team by e-mailing info@thinkoutside.cmha.ca or call us at 1-800-875-6212, extension 4157.

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