Mental health in British Columbia’s post-secondary institutions’ disability policies

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In British Columbia’s public post-secondary institutions, the needs of students living with physical or psychological disabilities are usually addressed through a dedicated disability policy. This approach focuses on making accommodations for eligible students but because mental illness is often less visible than physical impairment, it tends to be forgotten in policy design. As a result, students living with mental illness do not receive a comparable level of institutional support. This inadvertent exclusion creates a service gap that disadvantages students living with mental illness because of the very policies that are meant to support them. With a focus on shrinking this service gap, a review of existing post-secondary disability policies in BC is supplemented by academic literature on post-secondary mental health, as well as stakeholder interviews, all of which are used to develop policy options that will help to alleviate this gap. The policy alternatives are evaluated, and a recommendation is made.
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