The Student Perspective: An Exploration of the Experiences and Needs of University Students with Mental Illness

by Hannah Lee Gammon

Institution: Wright State University Professional Psychology Program
Department: School of Professional Psychology
Degree: Doctor of Psychology (PsyD)
Year: 2014
Keywords: Psychology; Public Health; Adult Education; Clinical Psychology; Counseling Psychology; Continuing Education; Developmental Psychology; Education; Educational Psychology; Health Care; Higher Education; Higher Education Administration; Mental Health; mental illness; psychiatric disability; university students; participatory action research; mental health; college students; stigma; mental health stigma; disability; academic accommodations
Record ID: 2041979
Full text PDF: http://rave.ohiolink.edu/etdc/view?acc_num=wsupsych1374611249


There is a gap in the current literature concerning the study of university students with mental illness. Particularly, very few qualitative studies have been conducted in which interviews with university students with mental illness have yielded knowledge about the population's experiences and needs. The present study, employing a Participatory Action Research (PAR) approach, was designed to promote a more accurate perception of the lives of university students with mental illness by allowing the voices of members of this group to be heard. Eight matriculating university students who self-identified with mental illness participated in this exploratory PAR initiative. The study involved open-ended questioning of participants through mixed methods including a demographics sheet, self-administered questionnaire, and focus group interviews. Results reflected numerous salient themes based on both written and verbal interactions with participants. For instance, potential barriers to success and suggestions for ways to best serve university students with mental illness were revealed. Also, mental health stigma and disability issues were addressed. Implications for future research and action are discussed.