Disabilities and Mental Health

There is also no legal requirement for you to disclose your disability to an employer – it’s a personal decision. However, an employer is legally required to make reasonable adjustments to the recruitment process and in the workplace to ensure people with disabilities aren’t being disadvantaged. Therefore, if you would benefit from reasonable adjustments being made at the application stage or once you enter the workplace, it’s worth letting the employer know. Learn about how you can get support at work if you have a disability or health condition. 

Support at Aston 

The university’s Enabling Team offer advice and support for students with disabilities, including ongoing health conditions and learning differences. You can find out more about what disability support is available at Aston in this video.

There’s also a Counselling and Mental Wellbeing Service at Aston. Our qualified counsellors/psychotherapy practitioners can give you a safe, confidential space to talk and explore what’s happening in your life.

The Students’ Union has a Disabled Students’ Officer on the Student Leadership Team – they are there to give a voice to and support those who have a disability, whether physical or psychological, and ensure your university experience is the best it can possibly be. You can contact them by email.

Listening Ear is a pastoral support drop-in service based on campus. It offers the following support for students, regardless of religious affiliation: confidential, non-judgemental listening; help in times of distress; signposting to specialist sources of help (including faith contacts if you wish).

There are a variety of mentoring schemes available at Aston which are designed to enable students, alumni and professionals alike to have the opportunity to support the Aston student community, develop skills, expand networks and share experiences. You will have the opportunity to engage in mentoring activities at every stage of your learning journey.

Useful resources

The following organisations and resources can offer further support and advice:

Psychometric tests: a guide for disabled candidates - This fantastic resource from AGCAS provides support and guidance on how to overcome the challenges posed by psychometric tests as a student with a disability.

Equality and Human Rights Commission: disability discrimination - Find out more about the Equality Act and what it says about disability discrimination.

TARGETjobs: equality and diversity issues, and your graduate job hunt - You can find advice on a range of key equality and diversity issues in this article. They look at your rights during the recruitment process, disclosing information to your employers and more. 

Blind in Business - This organisation helps people who are blind or have partial sight into work by providing practical training and supporting you with the various steps of the application process.

Disability Rights UK - This organisation campaigns for the rights of all disabled people to be included in every aspect of life, to help create a society where disabled people have equal power, rights and opportunities.

EmployAbility - They support, advise and advocate on behalf of talented neurodiverse and disabled students and graduates to remove barriers in employment. They also work with companies to help create disability-inclusive workplaces.

GOV.UK: Disability Confident - This document lists the employers that have signed up for the Disability Confident scheme.

Inclusive Top 50 UK Employers - a definitive list of UK-based organisations that promote inclusion across all protected characteristics, throughout each level of employment within their organisation.

Leonard Cheshire - They support people with disabilities to live, learn and work as independently as they choose – whatever their ability. 

MyPlus Students’ Club - They help students and graduates with disabilities land their dream job by offering essential advice, running events and sharing information about inclusive employers.

Remploy - A leading provider of specialist employment and skills support for people with disabilities and/or health conditions. They can help you find work and stay happy and healthy when in employment. 

Scope - A disability equality charity in England and Wales. Their website has information about finding disability-friendly employers, job sites aimed at people with disabilities and more.

Students’ Union: resources for students with disabilities - The Students’ Union have compiled a range of resources, including information about accessible facilities on campus, hidden disabilities, getting diagnosed and more.

Support for people who stutter - There are a range of organisations who aim to support people who stutter, including:

TARGETjobs: careers events for students with disabilities and how to make the most of them - Careers fairs and events are a great way for you to explore your career options – they’re also an opportunity for you to assess how diverse and inclusive an organisation is or to ask questions around disclosure or reasonable adjustment. Find out how to make the most of careers fairs in this article from TARGETjobs.

TARGETjobs: how to get a graduate job if you have a disability - In this article, Helen Cooke, the CEO and founder of MyPlus, shares advice for declaring a disability or long-term condition, asking for reasonable adjustments to be made, finding a disability-friendly employer and more.

Totaljobs Guides - If you’ve got questions about work equality, take a look at these expert guides from Totaljobs which cover topics such as how to ask for a pay rise, gender transitioning in the workplace, what it’s like to be deaf in the workplace and more. 

We have a number of posts on our blog written by students and graduates with disabilities, where they share their advice and experiences of looking for jobs and being in the workplace:

If you're not sure how and when you should share your disability with an employer, we have a great podcast discussing just that to help you navigate the process.

Opportunities and events

There are a range of programmes, initiatives and events which are designed specifically for students and graduates with disabilities. Some of these open up or take place at various points throughout the year. We’ve listed some below, as well as a selection of inclusive jobs portals which you could use to look for opportunities:

Ambitious about Autism: work experience opportunities
This charity runs a well-established work experience programme which offers autistic people, aged 18 years and older, the chance to showcase their skills and attributes in the workplace.

BBC: Extend Hub
The BBC are committed to increasing the number of people with disabilities working at the BBC, so they created the Extend Hub which is their new talent disability recruitment portal for entry-level schemes. 

City Disabilities: mentoring scheme
This organisation supports students with disabilities or long-term medical conditions who would like to join a profession in London. They offer a free mentoring service which may be helpful if you’d like guidance and support with your career.

Creative Access
This organisation supports talented people from groups that are under-represented in terms of ethnicity, socio-economic background and disability to secure paid training opportunities in creative companies and also thrive when they get in.

This is an accessible job portal. Employers who advertise on Evenbreak are actively aiming to attract candidates with disabilities.

Leonard Cheshire: Change 100 internships
Change 100 is Leonard Cheshire’s flagship programme of paid summer work placements, professional development and mentoring. They match talented students and recent graduates with any disability or long-term condition with progressive employers.

National Autistic Society: job opportunities
This charity works with employers including, Auto Trader UK, HMRC, IBM, J. P. Morgan, Oracle, Virgin Red, Visa and more to create accessible job opportunities and to support candidates to access those opportunities.

VERCIDA is the UK’s largest diversity and inclusion-focused career hub for recruiters and jobseekers. As well as promoting jobs with inclusive employers, they provide resources for a range of applicants including, those with disabilities, those aged over 50, LGBTQ+ applicants, religious applicants and more. 

Mental health resources

We appreciate that life can be overwhelming sometimes. But remember, you don’t have to struggle alone. Aston’s Counselling and Mental Wellbeing Service is here to help you, plus there are lots of online resources you may find helpful, some of which we’ve listed below. If you need additional support though, make sure to speak to someone you trust and/or seek professional help as soon as possible. If you are in a life-threatening situation, please immediately dial 999 or go to your nearest Accident and Emergency department.

Birmingham Healthy Minds
Birmingham Healthy Minds is an NHS primary care psychological therapies service for people with depression and anxiety symptoms. To access their service, you must be registered with a Birmingham GP.

Directory of support on Students’ Union website
The Students’ Union have listed a range of internal and external support services you can access for a variety of different purposes.

Self-help guides
Aston University has a variety of self-help guides that you may find useful. Produced by Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Trust, they cover a range of topics including anxiety, controlling anger, sleeping problems and stress. 

Student Minds
Student Minds is the UK’s student mental health charity. They empower students and members of the university community to develop the knowledge, confidence and skills to look after their own mental health, support others, and create change. There are lots of useful resources on their website including information about their peer support programmes and where to find support.

Student Space
Student Space aims to make it easier for you to find the support that you need during the Coronavirus pandemic. They offer access to dedicated support services by phone, email, text or webchat, and information and tools to help you through a variety of challenges you may be facing. Plus, they’ll help signpost you to the support available here at Aston. 

As an Aston student, you can access Togetherall which is a safe community that’s available 24/7, all year round. You can use it to get peer-to-peer support, complete self-guided courses, access recommended resources and more.