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ADCET Webinar: “Falling between the cracks?” Experiences of university students with mental health challenges

In this ADCET webinar, Dr Nicole Crawford shared some findings from her NCSEHE Equity Fellowship research, “On the radar”: Supporting the mental wellbeing of mature-aged students in regional and remote Australia.

In particular, Nicole focused on the experiences of students with mental health challenges. This exploration of what enables or constrains students from accessing and/or receiving support for mental health challenges has been prompted by some striking survey results in the fellowship research. Far higher numbers of the survey participants reported having a diagnosed mental health condition (31.0%) than having a disability (12.1%). Given the rules and classifications in universities around who can seek which provisions, this large gap suggests that many students with diagnosed mental health conditions might be unaware that they are eligible for supports from university Disability/Accessibility services, and, thus, would not receive them. This implication prompted a return to the 51 interview transcripts to explore the participants’ awareness and experiences of support in more depth.

In the presentation, Nicole shared some findings around barriers and enablers to students seeking and/or receiving assistance, and suggestions for supporting all students well, whether their mental health challenge is a diagnosed condition or not.


Headshot of Nicole Crawford

Dr Nicole Crawford

Dr Nicole Crawford is a researcher and educator in higher education. She was a Senior Research Fellow (2020-2022) at the National Centre for Student Equity in Higher Education (NCSEHE) and a NCSEHE Equity Fellow (2019-2020). In the Fellowship research, she investigated proactive ways of supporting the mental wellbeing of mature-aged students in regional and remote Australia. Prior to the Fellowship, she was a Lecturer in Pre-degree Programs at the University of Tasmania (UTAS). Her research focuses on equity and inclusion in higher education, enabling education, and student and staff mental wellbeing. She initiated UTAS’s Social Inclusion Community of Practice, and the National Association of Enabling Educators of Australia (NAEEA) Special Interest Group on Mental Health.

ADCET is hosted by the University of Tasmania