In academia, mental health and well-being are often viewed through the lens of “resilience” on the part of students; however, faculty can do considerably more to address students’ needs by rethinking pedagogical strategies and assessment methods.
This pressbook aims to educate faculty and staff on the complexities of mental health, our legal duty to accommodate, and the principles of Universal Design for Learning (UDL) that can make courses more accessible to all, as well as how we might modify assessment methods by integrating creative practice into courses across disciplines to address these issues.
The learning goals for this pressbook are to:
- Promote awareness of the legal obligations of faculty and staff re: accommodation of students with temporary or chronic mental health conditions/disabilities (e.g., as a follow-up to the existing AODA training module, but with a greater emphasis on the Ontario Human Rights Code and relevant decisions and orders) (Wiens et al., 2020);
- Promote awareness of the medical and social models of disability as they relate to mental health and well-being, including a brief history of mental health conditions/disabilities (e.g., terminology used in the DSM and psychology);
- Present alternative theories on “madness” to encourage participants to rethink their assumptions on the valuable contributions made by those who are neurodiverse (Donaldson, 2018);
- Address common issues in accommodating mental health conditions/disabilities according to individualized student accommodation plans and;
- Outline Universal Design for Learning (UDL) principles and resources to promote a broader culture of inclusivity and accessible pedagogy by design.
- Move beyond “traditional” assessments, exploring how creative options such as image creation, blogs, podcasts, video essays, music production, crafts, building blocks, dance, etc. (Gauntlett, 2018) can benefit everyone’s mental health (Crawford et al., 2013).
American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM–5). APA. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1176/appi.books.9780890425596
Crawford, P., Lewis, L., Brown, B., & Manning, N. (2013). Creative practice as mutual recovery in mental health. The Mental Health Review, 18(2), 55-64. DOI: http://dx.doi.org.ezproxy.lib.ryerson.ca/10.1108/MHRJ-11-2012-0031
Donaldson, E. ed. (2018). Literatures of Madness: Disability Studies and Mental Health. Palgrave Macmillan. DOI: 10.1007/978-3-319-92666-7
Gauntlett, D. (2018). Making is Connecting: The social power of creativity, from craft and knitting to digital everything. 2nd ed. Polity.
Government of Ontario. (2021). Human Rights Code. https://www.ontario.ca/laws/statute/90h19
Triplett, N., Sedlar, G., Berliner, L. Jungbluth, N., Boyd, M. Dorsey, S. (2020). Evaluating a Train-the-Trainer Approach for Increasing EBP Training Capacity in Community Mental Health. Journal of Behavioral Health Services & Research. 47, 189–200 (2020). DOI:
Wiens, K., Bhattarai, A., Dores, A., Pedram, P., Williams, J., Bulloch, A., & Patten, S. (2020). Mental Health among Canadian Postsecondary Students: A Mental Health Crisis? The Canadian Journal of Psychiatry / La Revue Canadienne de Psychiatrie. 65(1) 30-35 DOI: 10.1177/0706743719874178