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Despite growing attention to wellbeing and mental health conditions in higher education, conversations and recommendations often exclude students with mental health disabilities. Mental Health America’s (MHA) new report, Supporting College Students: Mental Health and Disability in Higher Education, highlights members of our most recent Collegiate Mental Health Innovation Council (CMHIC) and documents challenges and opportunities for increasing accessibility in higher education.
Recommendations for campuses include:
- Partnering with students to educate the campus community on mental health disabilities and accommodations
- Celebrating and educating students on disability culture and contributions through courses in disability studies and disability cultural centers
- Partnering with students with disabilities to train disability services staff to understand and develop appropriate accommodations
- Partnering with students with disabilities or disability services staff to provide navigation support during the disability accommodations process
- Creating alternatives to medical documentation of mental health disabilities due to structural barriers, like lack of health insurance or lack of diverse mental health professionals, that prevent many students from accessing mental health resources
- Training professors on mental health disabilities and accommodations, including how to support students requesting accommodations
To read about barriers and opportunities to increase the accessibility of higher education for students with mental health disabilities and learn more about MHA’s CMHIC members, check out the full report.