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Healthy Mind for people with intellectual disability

People with intellectual disability are more likely to experience mental heath issues, such as anxiety and depression. However, finding support that meets their needs, especially online, has been very challenging.

To address this gap, The Black Dog Institute created an Easy Read tool to help people with intellectual disability recognise and regulate their thoughts and feelings.

Healthy Mind is accessible, uses easy-to-understand language, as well as audio and pictures to take people through the activities step by step.

Healthy Mind has five online learning modules, including:

  • Breathe and relax – short videos about how to breathe deeply and relax your body
  • Tackling unhelpful thinking – short activities to recognise unhelpful ways that you think
  • Having more fun – an activity planner to organise more activities you enjoy into your week
  • Taming anger – short videos and activities to help you recognise and regulate anger
  • Recognising feelings – short videos and activities to help you understand your emotions.

All modules are structured in the same way. You will:

  • read information and learn about the topic
  • watch video clips to explain what you’ve learned
  • complete activities to practice what you’ve learned.

The Black Dog Institute is the only medical research institute in Australia to study mental health across people’s lifespans. They developed the Healthy Mind tool with input from health experts and people with intellectual disability, including Fiona McKenzie, who said she struggled to find mental health support online.

"Going on to a website when you have a disability can be confronting because you don't know what the language is going to be like and the pictures need to also reflect what the message is conveying in the words," she said.

"It's hard to navigate, you don't know where to find what you want, the spacing is not right and the colours might be too in your face."

"For people with a disability, especially intellectual, you need to be able to find things easily and not have to go through loads of information that's not suited to you."

You can read more about Fiona McKenzie's story on the ABC News website.

Original resources

The Black Dog Institute

ABC News

4 August 2020
Applies to all states