Mental Health Month: A message from AUCD's MH SIG

May 22, 2019

As we celebrate mental health month, we invite you to participate in AUCD's Special Interest Group on Mental Health Aspects of I/DD. Our goal is to ensure that the mental health needs of children and adults with IDD-MH are fully recognized within the disability community and that they are effectively addressed.  

Each year we offer a series of webinars centered on a theme. Last year, the focus was clinical strategies to treat mental illness and promote well-being through strength-based approaches. As an example, one seminar on Positive Psychology highlighted emotional well-being as the cornerstone of mental health for people with and without disabilities and explored ways to increase attention to Positive emotions, Engagement, Relationships, Meaning and Accomplishments (Seligman's PERMA) in order to enhance well-being and reduce distress among people with disabilities (see SIG webinar on Positive Psychology by Dan Tomasulo).

This year, our focus is full inclusion of people with mental health needs and IDD. We will consider how best to ameliorate the structural barriers, disparities in access to basic mental health care and social exclusion that contribute to the exacerbation or development of mental health conditions. In our most recent webinar "Hearing our Voices: Treatment Needs of Young Adults with IDD and Mental Health Conditions," self-advocates reminded us that listening to all voices in our community is the key to learning. Our next webinar will address the issue of stigma in a cultural and historical context and provide strategies to take action. Please visit our web page on the AUCD website to view past webinars, sign up to our listserv, and learn more about future opportunities to collaborate with MH SIG. 

In addition to webinars, we have scheduled quarterly video conference meetings hosted by AUCD to promote collaboration among UCEDDs across the country. Please join us!

Diane Jacobstein, PhD

Joan B. Beasley, PhD
UNH Institute on Disability UCED