Supporting the Mental Health of People with Disabilities
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), individuals who live with disabilities experience an enormous amount of mental distress. The statistics are staggering as adults with disabilities suffer from mental health difficulties almost five times as often as adults without disabilities. At Direct Care Innovations, we serve agencies that work with children and adults living with developmental or intellectual disabilities. By understanding how stress affects the mental health of people living with disabilities, we can equip ourselves with tools and strategies to help children and adults going through difficult seasons.
How Mental Health Is Affected
Individuals living with intellectual or developmental disabilities encounter different limitations. Some may be unable to walk or need assistance to walk. Other individuals may have hearing difficulties, concentration issues, or challenges with memory. Adults and children with disabilities are affected in contrasting ways by their individual circumstances. This inevitably has an influence on how they respond to and manage stress. Other factors that can influence an individual’s stress response include the strength of their support system, their financial situation, and stressful events in their past.
Coping Strategies for Managing Stress
Managing stress is possible, but it can be challenging. When an individual is stressed, it can be difficult to summon the internal energy it takes to cope with a stressful situation, not to mention actively applying various strategies to minimize the effects of stress. We’d like to share a few positive and effective coping methods that anyone can use when they’re experiencing mental health distress.
- Practice deep breathing and relaxation exercises that can calm your mind and body.
- If possible, adopt an exercise routine, even if it’s as simple as walking around the block three times a week.
- Make sure you’re getting plenty of sleep as the body repairs itself and restores energy during sleep.
- Eat balanced and healthy meals that will provide your mind and body with the nutrition it needs.
- Take up hobbies you once enjoyed or find something new to try that interests you.
- Keep in contact with your support system. They are there to help you through any difficult seasons.
- Most importantly, know where and how to get mental health treatment, such as counseling or therapy, so you can have immediate access to it when you need it.
Help for Individuals & Their Families
There are two online programs recommended by the CDC that provide mental health assistance for individuals living with disabilities and their families:
- Special Olympics Strong Mindfulness program offers free, one-hour mindfulness sessions for people who live with developmental or intellectual disabilities, where individuals learn techniques such as deep breathing, muscle relaxation, body awareness, and mindful movement.
- National Center on Health, Physical Activity, and Disability has a M.E.N.T.O.R. program that teaches individuals living with disabilities, who have new diagnoses, or who live with congenital conditions, how to enhance their life with health and wellness activities. M.E.N.T.O.R. stands for Mindfulness, Exercise, and Nutrition to Optimize Recovery.
Providing Support to Agencies Who Serve Individuals with Disabilities
At Direct Care Innovations, we understand the stress and mental health hardships that children and adults with disabilities endure. We do our best to support your agency and direct service providers as they work with clients on a daily basis. To learn how we serve our clients so they can provide effective healthcare services, contact us at (480) 295-3307. You can also request a sales demo to get a personal view of the various modules we offer, such as EVV solutions, real-time authorization management, billing software, and client ratings.Source: “The Mental Health of People with Disabilities.” Web page. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. Web. 04 May. 2023.