Mental health and digital accessibility

Mental health problems affect 1 in 4 people every year and common ones, such as anxiety and depression, affect 1 in 6 people each week. The state of our mental health affects how we think, feel and react - and therefore how we learn and work - and can in turn be affected by our environment, various situations and life factors, such as social isolation, stress, bereavement, discrimination, etc. Mental health problems may be diagnosed or undiagnosed, occasionally visible, but often hidden.

On this page, you can:


If you have a mental health impairment, there are a few ways you could get support:


If you would like peer support, you could join a Staff Network.


Digital accessibility tips

  • Making your device easier to use
  • Alternative formats with Blackboard Ally
  • Colours and contrast – some tools/websites will allow you to change these (e.g dark mode). For the rest, there are browser plugins that can change many pages’ contrast or colour scheme (e.g. grayscale).
  • Text-to-Speech – There are various Text-to-Speech (TTS) tools out there that can enable you to listen to digital text. There are also Speech-to-Text tools that may help with notetaking.

Quick tips for creating accessible content and activities

It is likely some of your students and colleagues will be struggling with their mental health at some point throughout their studies/work, whether because of a pre-existing condition or a stressful life event. Designing your content and activities bearing this in mind can create a more supportive environment for them, making it more likely that they will stick through their studies/work and thrive.

Check content for issues

Ensure your materials have inclusive language. You can check for non-inclusive language automatically in MS Office.

Provide information early

Consider letting your audience know in advance if you are going to ask for their input in a synchronous session, to allow them a few minutes to think about their contribution. This can also encourage more active participation.

Give options

Consider providing more than one option for activities that are more likely to put your audience on the spot, such as pre-recorded presentations, rather than live ones.

Be clear, concise, consistent

Ensure instructions, expectations and next steps are clear. It is important to know what is required and what is optional, as well as what will happen once a form or assignment is submitted.

Ask, don't assume

Give your audience the opportunity to ask questions or give feedback asynchronously and/ or anonymously. This will enable them to do so, even if they felt shy during a live session or are afraid to ask a question they think may be obvious.