Resources for students with psychiatric disabilities

The Toolkit includes websites, fact sheets and relevant publication references. This information can be used and shared by students, campus providers and the community-at-large to learn more about psychiatric disability.

Organizations and Websites

Association on Higher Education and Disability (AHEAD)

AHEAD is a professional association committed to full participation of persons with disabilities in postsecondary education. AHEAD addresses current and emerging issues with respect to disability, education and accessibility to achieve universal access.

AHEAD Special Interest Group on Psychiatric Disability

The Psychiatric Disabilities Special Interest Group strives to improve services and the campus climate for students with psychiatric disabilities. Working with a network of disability service providers, this group explores issues and shares useful resources to develop and promote the use of best practices for students with psychiatric disabilities.

Revolution Online Mental Health Fair

The Revolution Online Mental Health Fair provides the latest in mental health information and support via “Information Booths” that are actual web links to organizational websites. The websites included in the Online Mental Health Fair focus on enhancing student mental health.

Active Minds

Active Minds is the only national organization dedicated to utilizing the student voice to raise mental health awareness on the college campus.  Student and staff members’ work to promote a better understanding of mental health issues and promote a dialogue that is supportive and stigma-free.

Healthy Minds

Healthy Minds is an informative television series on mental health and mental illnesses. Aimed at reducing stigma and advancing awareness, the series employs a combination of inspiring personal stories from people living with, and overcoming, mental illnesses, and leading researchers and experts sharing the latest information on diagnoses and treatment.

Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law

The Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law produced “Campus Mental Health: Know Your Rights”, a 27-page guide for college and university students who want to seek help for mental illness or emotional distress. The guide explains legal rights and treatment options and is available as a free download at the Bazelon Center’s website.

Fact Sheets

Recovery from Serious Mental Illness Fact Sheet

As a way to spread awareness of the reality of recovery from mental illnesses, the Center for Psychiatric Rehabilitation has produced a one-page fact sheet designed for distribution to the general public. The fact sheet “Recovery from Serious Mental Illnesses” is a free download. Reproduction and distribution is highly encouraged.

What a Difference a Friend Makes – SAMHSA Fact Sheet

This site and related fact sheet are designed for people living with mental illnesses—and their friends. Information and tools are available to help in the recovery process, and you can also learn about the different kinds of mental illnesses, read real-life stories about support and recovery, and interact with the video to see how friends can make all the difference.

National Mental Health Anti-Stigma Campaign – Fact Sheet

This fact sheet highlights a national awareness public service advertising (PSA) campaign launched by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) in partnership with the Ad Council. This fact sheet is designed to decrease the negative attitudes that surround mental illnesses and encourage young adults to support their friends who are living with mental health problems.

The Emergence of Psychiatric Disabilities in Postsecondary Education (PDF)

An unprecedented and growing number of postsecondary students report psychiatric disabilities. This Issue Brief describes key issues faced by students and explores how can postsecondary personnel can support the success of these students.


Higher education and psychiatric disabilities: National Survey of Campus Disability Services.
Collins M.E, & Mowbary ,C.T. (2005). American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 75, 304-315.

Students with psychiatric disabilities are an increasing presence on college and university campuses. However, there is little factual information about the services available to these students in campus disability services offices or the extent to which they use these services. This article reports the results of a survey of disability services offices at colleges and universities in 10 states. Data from 275 schools revealed the number of students with psychiatric disabilities seeking assistance from disability services offices, characteristics of these offices, and the types of services they provide. Survey data also identified barriers to full participation of these students in academic settings. Implications of the study are discussed to inform policy and postsecondary institutional practices with the goal of better serving psychiatrically disabled students to maximize their talents and potential.

Needs Assessment Project: Exploring Barriers and Opportunities for College Students with Psychiatric Disabilities: Executive Summary.
Blacklock, B., Benson, B., & Johnson, D. (2003). 

The Needs Assessment Project: Exploring Barriers and Opportunities for College Students with Psychiatric Disabilities was sponsored by the Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education/U.S. Department of Education in October 2001 for a period of 18 months. The purpose of the project was to gather comprehensive data on the needs of college students with psychiatric disabilities, to identify the real and perceived barriers facing these students on college campuses, and to identify strategies for removing these barriers.

The Meaning of Higher Education for People Diagnosed with a Mental Illness: Four Students Share Their Experiences.
Knis-Matthews, L., Bokara, J., DeMeo, L., Lepore, N., & Mavus, L. (2007). Psychiatric Rehabilitation Journal, 31, 107-114.

In this qualitative study, four participants diagnosed with a mental illness were interviewed to explore their experiences while attending a post-secondary school. Each participant described how education helped them to find a sense of purpose in their lives. Education is also described as a means of transition from the patient role to other roles such as student or worker. However, the symptoms and stigma associated with their mental illness has created additional challenges for them while in a school setting. Supportive professors and counselors were viewed as helpful in overcoming these barriers.

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