Mental Health Month – Resources #4Mind4Body

Mental Health America is celebrating the 70th anniversary of Mental Health Month, starting May 1st. Building on the success of last year’s #4Mind4Body campaign, the 2019 campaign digs deeper into the connection between mental health and physical wellness by exploring such topics as animal companionship and support, spirituality, humor, work-life balance, and recreation and social connections as ways to boost mental health and wellness in general. We’ve collected some resources from the NIDILRR grantee community and elsewhere to add to your #4Mind4Body celebrations.

Animal Companionship and Support

Many people live with animals as pets in the US and find comfort and companionship with their furry roommates. Some people with disabilities have service animals that provide specific supports such as seeing eye dogs or seizure alert dogs. Emotional support animals offer a different kind of support to people with disabilities. It’s important to understand the difference between these types of animal companions, and to know your rights and responsibilities if you have a service or emotional support animal. Learn more about service and support animals from the ADA National Network. You might also like our Research In Focus article on supporting service animal teams in the workplace.

Spirituality

Some people with disabilities find support and draw strength through their spirituality. Regardless of the spiritual path, faith communities can do a lot to welcome people with physical, developmental, and psychiatric disabilities. Learn more with these resources on spirituality from the Rehabilitation Research and Training Center on Community Living and Participation for Individuals with Psychiatric Disabilities (TU Collaborative).

Humor

Finding the funny in life can lift your mood and can help you overcome difficult situations. A good belly laugh can even be a workout! How do you find humor in life? The New England ADA Regional Center hosted a Laugh ‘n’ Learn night with comedians who have lived experience with mental health and substance use disorders who shared their unique views on life. Watch the videos yourself and share a laugh!

Work-Life Balance

Is there a secret to finding the perfect balance between work, home, and personal life? Can you be a great employee, a great caregiver, and a great community member without it taking a toll on your health? The Work-Life Balance and Disability project surveyed competitively employed people with disabilities to look at just these issues. Hear from the participants and download research briefs from this project and see how you can participate in their continuing research efforts. 

Recreation and Wellness

Recreation and physical activity can be good for your physical, mental, and social well-being. The Center for Health and Self-Directed Care offers a suite of tools for health and wellness from the NEW-R nutrition and exercise curriculum to a guide for holding an inclusive wellness fair. Go back to the TU Collaborative for resources on physical activity as well. The RRTC on Pathways to Positive Futures explored the connection between healthy body and healthy mind as well.

Social Connections

Last, but hardly least, is keeping connected to your family, friends, and community. The TU Collaborative can help out here, too, with resources for relationships and creating welcoming communities.

These are just a few examples of resources and tools developed by NIDILRR-funded centers and projects. Explore the full range of current projects in the NIDILRR Program Database or visit our REHABDATA database to find peer-reviewed literature and other publications from these projects and the greater disability and rehabilitation research community.

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