People with a learning disability are more likely to experience poor mental health than the general population. To mark World Mental Health Day we have brought together many useful resources about mental health and well-being for people with a learning disability – including easy read guides and helpful organisations.
Mental ill-health is common, affecting one in six adults at any one time (ONS 2000) and research suggests that people with learning disabilities have an increased likelihood of developing mental ill-health, with figures ranging from 25 to 40 per cent (Hatton 2002).
Children with a learning disability are also more likely to suffer from mental health problems than children without a learning disability.
We have rounded-up some recent useful resources about mental health, well-being and learning disability. If you know of any other good organisations and resources please let us know.
Easy read guides to help with mental health during coronavirus and lockdowns
- Good Days and Bad Days During Lockdown (Beyond Words )
- Looking after your feelings and your body. (Publc Health England)
- COVID-19 Guided Self-help Booklet Series. (Scottish Commission
for Learning Disability)
Public Health Wales guides to looking after your mental health during lockdown
- How are you doing? – Staying well at home information hub. Resources and advice about: Saying physically and mentally well: Staying connected with friends, family, work colleagues and your community; Helping others.
- Alcohol and staying healthy (April 2020)
- Eating well (April 2020)
- Keeping active (April 2020)
- Smoking and staying healthy (April 2020)
- Keeping in touch (April 2020)
- Easy read guide to Looking after your feelings and your body
Foundation for People with Learning Disabilities guides
‘Feeling down: improving the mental health of people with learning disabilities’ – report and easy read guide
This detailed report about mental health and learning disability from the Foundation for People with Learning Disabilities is designed to help promote positive mental health by offering information, case studies and real-life experiences of people with learning disabilities and their carers and their strategies for enhancing their mental wellbeing.
As part of the report, the Foundation for People with Learning Disabilities have also produced an excellent easy read guide, ‘Feeling Down: Looking After My Mental Health’, that can be used with or without support.
The guide is in five parts and has advice and information about how to look after yourself and get the best out of life.
- What is mental health?
- How to keep yourself feeling well
- What to do when you are worried about your mental health
- Planning a visit to your GP
- GP Information Pack
Other resources about mental health and learning disability
The Judith Trust focuses its work on the problems faced by people who have both a learning disability and mental ill-health. Their website has lots of useful resources, research and case studies.
Mencap have a useful section about mental health and learning disability on their website. It includes information and advice about useful treatments, such as Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), Psychodynamic therapy, and family therapy
NHS Fife have made a leaflet for carers : ‘A Carer’s Guide to Depression in People with a Learning Disability’ (PDF).
Books Beyond Words have produced a series of easy read story books about depression and mental health: ‘Sonia’s Feeling Sad’, ‘Ron’s Feeling Blue’, ‘Feeling Cross and Sorting It Out’. The books are priced £10.
‘Mindfulness for Kids with LD’. Mindfulness means being able to focus on the current moment and letting go of other thoughts. The Smart Kids with Learning Disabilities website in the United States has a really good web page with tips about how mindfulness can help children with a learning disability manage stress and anxiety. It also includes a list of recommended apps for children and young people.
Dewis Cymru is a ‘one-stop shop’ for information about well-being in Wales, providing quality information from a network of social care, health and third sector organisations across Wales.
National Autistic Society have a useful section on their website about mental health and autism.
Workbook to help people with learning disabilities who experience psychosis: guide for NHS clinicians – Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership (AWP) NHS Trust
The National Institute for Health and Social Care Excellence (NICE) have guidance on ‘Mental health problems in people with learning disabilities: prevention, assessment and management’.
This guideline covers preventing, assessing and managing mental health problems in people with learning disabilities in all settings (including health, social care, education, and forensic and criminal justice). It aims to improve assessment and support for mental health conditions, and help people with learning disabilities and their families and carers to be involved in their care.
Welsh Government introduced the ‘Mental Health (Wales) Measure’ in 2010, which places new legal duties on local health boards and local authorities about the assessment and treatment of mental health problems. Mental Health Wales have a useful guide to the ‘Mental Health Measure’ for people who use services and their families.
‘I had a black dog, his name was depression‘: This powerful and beautifully-told animated video from writer and illustrator Matthew Johnstone tells the story of overcoming the “black dog of depression”. More information on the book can be found at: http://matthewjohnstone.com.au.
‘STOMP: Stopping the over-medication of people with a learning disability, autism or both’. This health campaign aims to stop the over-use of psychotropic medication to manage people’s behaviour. The campaign is focused mainly in England but is very relevant to Wales.
C.A.L.L. is a mental health helpline for Wales, providing emotional support, referral to agencies and free self help leaflets for anyone in Wales. Freephone 0800 132 737 or text the word “help” to 81066. The Mental Health Helpline service is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Papyrus – for the prevention of young suicide (under 35)