Brock Nursing student addresses accessibility barriers for "silent disabilities"

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Brock Nursing student addresses accessibility barriers for "silent disabilities"

Published on May 10 2012


Making our world a more accessible place, Brock Nursing student Hilary Tyler has been selected as a top finalist in the province wide Innovative Designs for Accessibility (IDeA) student challenge for her "Everybody Hurts Campaign" idea.

After an extended leave of absence to raise her son, Hilary returned to the Brock Nursing program and has brought some fresh new ideas to the nursing table.

As a participant in the student challenge offered by the Council of Ontario University (COU), Hilary addressed attitudinal accessibility barriers for University students living with “silent disabilities”, commonly known as mental illnesses.

“The loose guidelines for the contest allowed for me to address accessibility from a unique angle,” says Hilary, who is now in her third year of the Nursing program. “While it is easier to look at building empathy on an individual basis, my idea was to promote empathy on a larger scale. The intent was to a to help members of the university community become better able to connect and empathize with students who are living with mental illness.”

To represent this, the campaign utilizes the mental health continuum that displays a range of emotional states from maximal to minimal mental health.

“As one of the action steps to build empathy, the continuum would be placed in a university common area to show how emotions can range on a daily basis.” Says Hilary.

Transforming what would have been a practical component for a nursing assignment, Hilary now has an awareness campaign that will be on display with more than 330 exhibitors and 2600 delegates at the COU booth at this year’s Ontario Centres of Excellence Discovery Conference.

“The Everybody Hurts Campaign was developed out of Hilary’s observation of the need for change in public knowledge and perceptions of mental illness in order to reduce stigma and improve the accessing of mental health services by those who need them”, says Lynn McCleary, Nursing professor who introduced the competition to students in her Promoting Mental Health nursing course.

Students in the course were encouraged to recognize themselves as political agents, and to be actively involved in taking action to create awareness or change in society regarding issues related to mental health.

Starting at the institutional level, the project was first adjudicated by a committee at Brock and was then selected to represent the University in the second round of judging by a panel of experts. The COU has since placed Hilary’s submission as one of the top finalists to attend the Metro Convention Centre in Toronto on May 15.

Prizes are to be announced at next week’s conference with awards for first place ($1,500), second place ($1,000) and third place ($500) ideas.

Click here to learn more about the accessibility challenge at Brock. 

Accessibility contest finalist
Hilary Tyler

Brock Nursing Student
Top finalist in: Innovative Designs for Accessibility
(IDeA) student challenge
Offered by:
The Council of Ontario University (COU)