Supported Education

Supported education is the process of helping consumers of mental health services participate in an education program so they may receive the education and training they need to achieve their learning and recovery goals and become gainfully employed in the job or career of their choice. The Café TAC will provide technical assistance and resources on effective approaches to supported education programs such as coaching and accommodations and establish a national database of supported education programs including vocational rehabilitation.

CAFE TAC Resources

Focus 47: The Challenge of Higher Education for Mental Health Consumers – A First Hand Perspective highlights the experience and perspective of a mental health consumer that has faced the challenges of affording higher ed.

Focus 45: Finding the Right Fit: What to Look For in a College or University offers advice on how prospective students with mental health needs can make informed decisions about what institution of higher education best suits their needs.

Focus 44: Supported Education: Examining the Evidence looks at the body of evidence for supported education and how it has developed over the last two decades, and discusses the implications of supported education becoming an evidence-based practice.

Focus 43: Campus Mental Health and Leaves of Absence: A First-Hand Perspective shares one young woman’s account of experiencing a mental health issue in her college years, and undergoing to difficult process of overcoming multiple barriers to eventually complete her education.

Focus 42: Postvention: How Colleges and Universities Can React to Suicide Clusters looks at what steps institutions of higher education can take to be prepared to react to suicides and other traumatic events impacting their communities, and mitigate the negative effects that often follow.

CAFE TAC Video: Supported Education at the University of Utah is a video created to examine how supported education has been implemented at one university. By speaking with professionals, faculty and the students they serve, we were able to gain a sense of how a quality program creates a culture of responsiveness and empowerment to help students succeed.

Focus 38: New Models for Transition to Higher Education for Students with Mental Health Needs examines two approaches the equipping students with the skills and supports they need to enter a college setting, or to return to college after an absence due to their mental health condition.

Focus 35: A Model Policy to Support Students with Behavioral Health Needs examines a model policy created by the Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law, which may provide a template to help colleges and universities create a culture of compassion and accommodation while still maintaining campus safety.

Focus 31: Thirty Schools Recognized for Quality Mental Health Programming examines some of the tensions underlying efforts by colleges and universities to serve students with mental health needs, and reveals the first thirty schools to be recognized under a new rating system created by a non-profit advocacy organization.

What Does Supported Education Look Like? is a white paper that offers some real-world examples of Supported Education programs. It describes how supported education works as it is actually practiced on a few different campuses, and gives potential students an idea of what to look for, and what questions to ask when looking for the right supported ed program.

View another Focus newsletter on Supported Ed, Focus 20: Supported Education Continues to Grow.

View a Focus newsletter pertaining to the laws affecting Supported Education, Focus 7: Supported Education: Is It A Right?

Get an introduction to the topic of Supported Education in Focus Issue 3: Supported Education.

View the CAFE TAC’s online training on Supported Educatiuon: Getting a Degree Through Supported Education

View CAFE TAC’s white paper on supported education, Supported Education for Consumers of Mental Health Services.


Outside Resources

Campus Mental Health Know Your Rights: A Guide for Students Who Want to Seek Help for Mental Illness or Emotional Distress – This publication from the Bazelon Center provides information for students with mental health needs regarding their rights.

Mental Health on College Campuses: Investments, Accommodations Needed to Address Student Needs – – This National Council on Disability (NCD) report examines and assesses the status of college mental health services and policies in the United States, and provides recommendations for Congress, federal agencies, and colleges to improve college mental health services and post-educational outcomes for students with mental health disabilities.

Supported Education (SEd): State of the Practice – – This report from the Transitions Research and Training Center at the University of Massachusetts Medical School provides a quick overview on current trends and challenges in nationwide efforts to implement supported education.

Outside-The-Box College Accommodations: Real Support for Real Students: Tools for School II –– This tool from Transitions RTC offers suggestions on accommodations that can be very helpful, but might not be the ones most people think of first.

Real Support for Real Students: Making College Accommodations Work For You – – This presentation from Transitions RTC offers a helpful overview of academic accommodations, and how to gain access to them.

Back to School: Toolkits to Support the Full Inclusion of Students with Early Psychosis in Higher Education – and – This pair of SAMHSA-funded toolkits are “designed to help support the integration and inclusion of ” students with mental health needs in higher education settings. It includes one toolkit for students and families, and another for campus staff and administrators. It will be of use both for students seeking to participate in higher education, and for institutions attempting to facilitate the inclusion of students with mental health needs.

Starting the Conversation: College and Your Mental Health – – To help put a thoughtful plan into place should a mental health condition arise, NAMI (the National Alliance on Mental Illness) and The Jed Foundation have created this guide to help start the conversation. It offers both parents and students the opportunity to learn more about mental health, including what the privacy laws are and how mental health information can be shared.

Center for Psychiatric Rehabilitation, Higher Education Toolkit – – The Higher Education Support Toolkit (HES) provides disability service staff and health care staff with a simple way to work with students who are experiencing limitations arising from their psychiatric disability. Sometimes it only takes a small change to make a dramatic difference in the ability of a student to be optimally engaged in college classes. By helping students to identify the ways in which they are being challenged, disability and support services staff can then direct students to campus resources and discuss strategies for the classroom that meet their particular needs. The HES Toolkit is free.

A Practical Guide for People with Disabilities Who Want to Go to College – – This new publication provides a practical guide to help people with disabilities who want to return to college – to community colleges or career institutes, or for four-year degrees or graduate education. The publication provides an overview of the challenges and supports needed in four areas: finding the right school, locating supports at your school, managing your disability and your education, and using your new educational qualifications in the search for a better job. Among the issues reviewed: assessing your own interests and skills, funding your education, disclosing your disability, and locating supports and services to succeed at school. The guide can be used both by consumers to get a better sense of how to improve their educations and by rehabilitation and case management personnel to structure their discussions with motivated consumers. In addition, the guide provides references to a wealth of additional print publications and online resources that explore each topic in greater detail.

Supported Education with Dr. Karen Unger – Rehabilitation Through Education is a consulting firm founded in 1995 to develop and promote the concept of supported education. This website includes what supported education is, the Key Elements of Supported Education, Handbook On Supported Education: Providing Services For Student With Psychiatric Disabilities, and services available rehabilitation through education.

Supported Employment and Supported Education Summit Meeting – – Report from a summit with stakeholders convened by the California Department of Rehabilitation.

Supported Education Initiatives from Boston University’s Center for Psychiatric Rehabilitation – – Resources from the nationally recognized supported ed program at BU.

The Virginia Commonwealth University Supported Education Model: Effective Strategies and Supports for College, Students with Learning Disabilities and Attention Deficit Disorders – This paper addresses the nature of the problem, the implementation of the supported education model, and the innovative practices that were used in the Virginia Commonwealth University Supported Education Model.

Supported Education Strategies for People with Severe Mental Illness: A Review of Evidence Based Practice – The article reviews extant literature related to the study of evidence based practice of the provision of supported education to the mentally ill and provides a chronological history of efforts from various institutions and mental health and educational facilities in North America.

The Michigan Supported Education Program – – Includes an abstract, introduction, program description, and the effectiveness of the program. The Michigan Supported Education Program began as a three-year research demonstration project in the mid-1990s. It was designed to serve adults with psychiatric disabilities in the Detroit metropolitan area who had a range of psychiatric diagnoses. After its evaluation was completed in 1997, the program was incorporated into the array of services offered by the Detroit-Wayne County Community Mental Health Agency through the Southwest Detroit Counseling and Development Center. It now serves 150 consumers each year.

Career Advancement Resources (CAR): Supported Education as a Career Development Strategy – American Journal of Psychiatric Rehabilitation (For purchase) – Since its inception in 1997, under the statewide Supported Education and Employment (SEE) initiative, Career Advancement Resources (CAR) has provided services to 1077 individuals with psychiatric disabilities seeking to return to paid employment. This article describes the CAR program’s participants, including their demographics and their educational and vocational goals, and in so doing, provides an understanding of the “Choose-Get-Keep” model of Supported Education, which serves as the theoretical framework behind the SEE initiative.

Supported Education for People with Psychiatric Disabilities: A Practical Manual (For Purchase) – – This book provides practical guidance for the development and operation of supported education for people with psychiatric disabilities. It’s step-by-step program, planning inclusion of generic policies and procedures and descriptions of program management by coordinators who have psychiatric disabilities themselves, make the book particularly unique.

Supported Education for Individuals with Psychiatric Disabilities: Long-term Outcomes from an Experimental Study (Statistical Data Included) – – The article discusses the appropriateness of supported education as a social work intervention.

Establishing Individualized Goals in a Supported Education Intervention: Program Influences on Goal-Setting and Attainment – This study investigated goal-setting and attainment in the Michigan Supported Education Research Project, an intervention that provides support for adults with psychiatric disabilities to engage in post secondary education.

Outcomes of Post-Secondary Supported Education Programs for People with Education Programs for People with Psychiatric Disabilities – The objectives of this study were to examine if people with mental illness could complete a course of study, to school enhances quality of life and self there are identifiable predictors of school if returning esteem, incompletion and if participating in supported education programs leads to career employment or employment that reflects education level.

Supported Education Strategies for People with Severe Mental Illness: A Review of Evidence Based Practice – – The article reviews extant literature related to the study of evidence based practice of the provision of supported education to the mentally ill and provides a chronological history of efforts from various institutions and mental health and educational facilities in North America.

BC’s Mental Health Journal Vision’s: Supported Education – – This PDF document addresses a variety of areas and questions regarding Supported Education.

A Program of Supported Education for Adult Israeli Students With Schizophrenia – This report describes a supported education program (SEP), a novel community-based program of rehabilitation for psychiatric patients, started in Israel in 1999.

Supported Education Abstract – Findings from a survey of further education colleges and primary care trusts across the south east of England.

College Guide for Students with Psychiatric Disabilities – This guide offers a quick overview of information and resources that can be helpful to students with mental health needs as they transition to higher education.

Suicide Prevention in College – This resource guide provides some basic info on suicide as well as a collection of resources.

Career Guide for Students with Disabilities – This site includes a number of resources to help students with disabilities transition to employment.

College Scholarships and Financial Aid for Students with Disabilities – – This page lists a number of scholarship resources for students with disabilities, including psychiatric disabilities.

College Resources for Students with Disabilities – This page lists a variety of resources that may be helpful to students with disabilities, organized by disability category.

Capacity Building for Collegiate Recovery – This guide presents a capacity building approach to building recovery communities on campus.

Student Mental Health Awareness and Resources Guide – This comprehensive guide discusses and details a number of mental health issues, including information on how they impact academic performance and where to find help.

Mental Health Resources for – From newfound freedom to the rigors of college-level coursework and everything in between, the pressure and stress of student life can take its toll. The following guide is designed to help college students identify, address and get help for mental health issues.

Coping with Eating Disorders – This in-depth guide explains what eating disorders are, how to spot the signs, the impact of the most common issues, and what treatments are available for those who suffer from these potentially deadly disorders.

Suicide and Depression Guidebook – This guide is dedicated to helping those who are suffering or have suffered from depression, suicidal thoughts or suicide attempts. It is also designed for concerned friends and family members who might be worried that someone they love will experience death by suicide. Finally, it is meant for students, so that they might spot the warning signs of suicide in others – or in themselves – and find the proper resources.

Addiction Resources for Students – This guide aims to provide students with a firm foundation to reach out for the help they need, including plenty of facts about what really constitutes a substance use disorder, how they can find the proper resources to get back on a healthy track and expert advice on what to do if addiction becomes a looming prospect.

Coping with Stress and Anxiety Guidebook – This guidebook will help you recognize and understand feelings of stress and anxiety and learn how to manage them so that they don’t become overwhelming.

College Student Mental Health – This guide serves as a resource for college students who need (or think they might need) help. Leveraging the expertise of several mental health and counseling experts, this resource explores the various mental health concerns that today’s college students face and discusses where and how students can find help.