Recommendations relating to Education and Training

Benefits of access to education and training include: enabling people to pursue their chosen profession, upskilling and enhanced economic and social participation. In general, people affected by complex mental health issues have lower educational attainment than the general population.

Ensuring educational institutions are responsive to the needs of people affected by complex mental health issues and can support them to complete their educational goals is crucial to increasing educational attainment among this cohort.

Survey participants reported that interactions with educational or training staff and inflexibility around study arrangements drove their perceptions of stigma and discrimination in this area. Rigid arrangements within many educational institutions and anticipation of stigma and discrimination have resulted in many respondents being reluctant to ask for flexible study arrangements. Some described having withdrawn from study altogether as a result. Many respondents also shared that the cognitive, emotional and social experiences associated with complex mental health issues were barriers to attending classes and placements, and completing coursework. 


"I was due to start university in early 2019 however I had to go into hospital for my mental health. I met with the student services/guidance councillor [sic] and I was not given any options for my study, simply just told I could not start and that there was no alternate pathway for me so I HAD to defer."      

– Our Turn to Speak participant, New South Wales    


Increased awareness of complex mental health issues within educational settings is required to ensure students and staff are informed about available support to better recognise and support people’s needs.


Recommendations for action 

  1. Increase promotion of and support available for people affected by complex mental health issues in educational settings, inclusive of students, and all academic and professional staff.
  2. Provide capacity-building training for educational staff to better recognise and support the needs of people affected by complex mental health issues.
  3. Revise special consideration criteria to ensure that the supports/modifications provided are tailored to the unique needs of students living with complex mental health issues.