Difficulties Experienced by University Students with Severe Mental Illness Who Participate in Supported Education Programs

Ron Shor*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Knowledge about the difficulties students with severe mental illness (SMI) encounter is essential to helping them meet the challenges of studying in universities. Therefore, a study was conducted in Israel with 80 university students with SMI to ascertain their difficulties and the relationship between these difficulties and their level of recovery. The two subscales of an instrument measuring students’ difficulties that were ranked the highest were “Learning Skills and Management of Academic Tasks” and “Social Inclusion Difficulties.” Inverse relationships were found between the students’ difficulties and their perceived level of recovery. The findings illuminate that one of the major challenges that students with SMI experience is to meet academic requirements while coping with mental illness. They also indicate that students’ difficulties may not be limited to academic functioning. Therefore, there is a need to broaden the view of students’ difficulties to include social and contextual factors in the university environment.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)281-287
Number of pages7
JournalCommunity Mental Health Journal
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1 Apr 2017

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
A quantitative cross-sectional method was implemented with 80 students with SMI in five universities in Israel. All the students took part in supported education programs financed by the Israeli Ministry of Health. The services included meeting individually with mentors twice a week. The mentors provided the students support and advice aimed at helping them cope with the academic and social difficulties they may experience as they contend with the challenges of studying in institutions of higher education. The criteria for participation in the research were: a determination of a 40 % mental health disability by the Israeli National Insurance Institute or approval of eligibility based on the severity of disability by a committee of the Israeli Mental Health Ministry, and participation in a number of courses equivalent to at least a part time program. Purposive sampling was utilized in which all those in these supported education programs were approached with a request to participate in the study. Seventy percent of those approached agreed to participate.

Funding Information:
This research was supported by the National Insurance Institute of Israel: The Research Fund. The authors would like to thank the staff of the supported education programs in Israel for their support and help with this research.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016, Springer Science+Business Media New York.


  • Difficulties
  • Mental illness
  • Supported education programs
  • Universities


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