December 3rd is International Day of People with Disabilities. This is celebrated to recognize and value the diversity of our community and to better understand and learn from the experience of those living with a disability (International Day, 2020)

According to the National Alliance of Mental Illness, disability is defined by a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities (2021). The Center for Disease Control and Prevention states that a disability is considered a limit to everyday functions, such as but not limited to walking, hearing, concentration, remembering, or decision making (2020). 

In the United States, 1 in 4 adults have a disability this is an average of 61 million individuals. These adults are 5x as likely to experience frequent mental health distress (CDC, 2021). 

The prevalence of youth with disabilities in the United States is 1 in 10 youth. These youth with disabilities has an increased risk for mental health distress as well (Youth, 2021). 

Mental distress is defined as experiencing 14 or more unhealthy days within a 30-day time period. Frequent mental distress is often associated with poor health behaviors, mental disorders, chronic disease, and limitations in everyday life (CDC, 2021). 

The International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health state the following as some of the benefits to mental health services for those with disabilities (CDC, 2021).

∙      Learning and applying knowledge

∙      Managing tasks and demands

∙      Managing domestic life

∙      Establishing and managing interpersonal relationships and interactions

∙      Engaging in major life areas (education, employment, managing money/finances)

∙      Engaging in community, social, and civic life 

The Georgia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities provide the following services to help individuals improve mental health and daily life function (2021).

·      Assessment and recovery plan: Identify recovery goals

·      Physician services: Provide medication management

·      Nursing services: Monitor health issues

·      Community Support: Skill building and accessing resources within the community

·      Individual, family, and group therapy: Allows individuals the space to discuss their concerns and find solutions

·      Psychosocial rehabilitation: Help teach skills, such as illness management, daily living skills, money management, and obtaining resources 

References 

Disabilities | Youth.gov. (2021). Youth.Gov. Retrieved November 22, 2021, from https://youth.gov/youth-topics/disabilities 

International Day of People With Disabilities. (2020, October 12). International Day of People with Disabilities | About the Movement. Retrieved November 22, 2021, from https://idpwd.org/about/ 

Mental Health for All. (2020, November 30). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved November 22, 2021, from https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/disabilityandhealth/features/mental-health-for-all.html 

Mental health for adults. Georgia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities. (2021). Retrieved November 24, 2021, from https://dbhdd.georgia.gov/be-dbhdd/be-supported/mental-health-adults

People with Disabilities | NAMI: National Alliance on Mental Illness. (2021b). National Alliance on Mental Illness. Retrieved November 22, 2021, from https://www.nami.org/Your-Journey/Identity-and-Cultural-Dimensions/People-with-Disabilities

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