Mental and Social Well-Being of Individuals with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities

Mental Health

Here are some background information on the subject:

Persons with IDD are at higher risk of having mental-ill health and developing a depressive disorder than are members of the general population (Beange et al. 1995; Cooper et al. 2007).  In the same manner, the mental health care system has historically marginalized individuals with IDD.  Until the mid-1980s, many clinicians doubted that individuals with IDD were capable of depression (Sovner & Pary, 1993).

Emotions

In 2012, the percentage of adults with IDD, in Florida, who reported ever having depression was 40.7%, and the percentage of adults without IDD who reported ever having depression was 11.0% (DHDS, 2012).   Similarly, in 2012, the percentage of adults with IDD, in Florida, who reported that they always or usually received needed social and emotional support was 66.5%, and the percentage of adults without IDD who reported that they always or usually received needed social and emotional support was 83.5% (DHDS, 2012).

Stress

What should we do about this?

The Healthy People 2020 aim to reduce the proportion of people with developmental disabilities who report serious psychological distress as part of their overall goal to promote the health and well-being of people with IDD (Healthy People 2020, 2014).  However, very little have been done to develop tailored mental health promotion and mental illness prevention program to reduce anxiety disorders and depression in individuals with IDD.

Indisputably, more effective interventions for reducing anxiety disorder and depression have to be developed.  The tailored program should include education, skill development, environment modification, and cognitive and behavioral therapy that is adapted to the person’s level; antidepressants should be used as necessary (Morin et al., 2010).  Many researches support the benefits of tailored mental health promotion programs for adults with IDD in controlled settings.

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Individuals with IDD do have the capacity to learn techniques that may help them reduce anxiety disorders and depression.  Additionally, reinforcement from parents and caregivers always play a huge role in the success of the program’s participants (Morin et al., 2010).

Support

For this reason, I have developed a 9-week Mental/Social Health Promotion Program—the instructive focus includes the following:

  • Developing strategies to prevent and reduce stress
  • Promoting coping skills/ methods
  • Creating avenues for socialization and support networks/relationships
  • Referring/connecting participants to mental health services, for prescribed medications, psychotherapy, and counseling as necessary
  • Measurement of anxiety levels pre and post intervention program
  • Inclusion of parents, caregivers for support and lasting results

The pilot phase of the program is currently in progress, I wait expectantly for positive results.

Pilot phase of the 9-week Social Wellness Program

Pilot phase of the 9-week Social Wellness Program

Mental Well-Being

For more information regarding the program, please contact me @ karlynguir@hotmail.com or (954) 901-9232.

References

Beange H., McElduff A. & Baker W. (1995) Medical disorders of adults with mental retardation: a population study. American Journal on Mental Retardation,99:595–604.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Disability and Health Data System.  (2012). Retrieved from http://dhds.cdc.gov.

Morin, D., Cobigo,V., Rivard, M. & Lépine, M. (2010). Intellectual disabilities and depression: How to adapt psychological assessment and intervention. Canadian Psychology/Psychologie Canadienne, Vol 51(3), pp.185-193.

Sovner, R., and Pary, R. (1993). Affective disorders in developmentally disabled persons. Psychopathology in the mentally retarded. New York: Allyn and Bacon.

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion. (2015). Healthy People 2020. Retrieved from http://www.healthypeople.gov/

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