Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)




Faculty of Science

First Advisor

Geoffrey Nelson

Advisor Role

Thesis Supervisor


This study was conducted to obtain an understanding of the post-secondary educational experiences of students with mental health issues (MHI’s) at Wilfrid Laurier University (WLU), to examine the needs of these students, to identify specific types of supports and accommodations available to these students, and to determine how improvements could be made by removing any identified barriers and putting in their place needed supports and accommodations. Study components included forming an advisory committee, administering a needs assessment questionnaire to WLU students (n = 78) and a campus service assessment tool to service managers (n = 3), and conducting individual and focus group interviews with various stakeholders (namely, students with MHI’s [n = 11], managers [n = 5] and service providers from the Accessible Learning Centre (ALC) [n = 10], Counselling Services [n = 4], and faculty [n = 3]). Qualitative and quantitative data revealed that students with MHI’s attending WLU face many barriers in the attainment of a post-secondary degree. An analysis of available supports revealed a lack of disability-specific supports provided by the ALC, Counselling Services, and Health Services, specifically for students with MHI’s. With regard to campus-based support utilization, the three services most frequented by students with MHI’s for their mental health needs were the ALC, Counselling Services, and Health Services. Students were satisfied with a number of services provided by the ALC for the most part. However results showed that students with MHI’s need specialized supports, like peer support groups, that extend beyond simply instrumental supports (e.g., that which the ALC currently offers). A number of recommendations were provided by participants, which was used to create an action plan for use by WLU to address barriers revealed by this study’s findings.

Convocation Year


Included in

Psychology Commons