Psychiatric / Psychological Impairment Overview

Common Barriers Experienced at the University Level

A student who has a mental health condition may experience one or more of the following barriers to learning and inclusion. Please note this list provides only a sample of common barriers.

  • Attitudinal barriers due to assumptions of what a student can/cannot do or a perception that they will cause additional work for staff.
  • Difficulty in meeting deadlines — particularly when there has been a period of ill health or there are competing deadlines.
  • Regular attendance at classes can be difficult for some students due to social confidence and/or impact of medication.
  • Anxiety can severely limit and mask a student's performance.
  • Social isolation can occur as it can be difficult for students to initiate or participate in conversations due to negative self esteem. Students may have had previous negative study experiences due to their mental illness.
  • Impact of illness and/or medication can include irregular sleep (needing lots of sleep or only sleeping 2-3 hours a day), lack of appetite, fatigue, reduced concentration, reduced motivation and inability to maintain attention to a task.

For Additional information on working with students with Mental Health Impairments