May is Mental Health Month, organized by Mental Health America. The theme for 2020 is Tools 2 Thrive, focusing on practical tools that people can use to improve their mental health and increase resilience. Tools can be programs or practices in which you participate regularly or during specific situations, They can include activities like journaling or artistic therapies, or organizations or groups you reach out to when you need to connect. Organizations can also use these tools to support the mental health of their members or employees.
Here are some examples of tools developed by the NIDILRR grantee community to help people with disabilities, service providers, and community partners achieve positive mental health outcomes.
- The Rehabilitation Research and Training Center (RRTC) on Integrated health Care and Self-Directed Recovery has a Solutions Suite with products that promote self-directed recovery as well as physical health and wellness for people with psychiatric disabilities. These include wellness plans and manuals, journaling guides, action planning tools, and more.
- The RRTC on Community Living and Participation for Individuals with Serious Mental Illness has multiple toolkits, resource guides, and planning tools to support community participation and mental health. These include physical activity guides, leisure toolkits, self-advocacy planning guides, and guides to creating workplaces and worship spaces that welcome people with serious mental illness.
- The Learning and Working During the Transition to Adulthood RRTC has tools for young adults with mental health conditions working as peer providers, as well as their employers, so they can support their clients with mental health conditions and maintain their own wellness and participation. These include toolkits for employers, factsheets, webinars and videos, and more. This center also published a tipsheet on How to Talk About Mental Health: Addressing Misunderstandings About Mental Health in the Media.
- The Southeast ADA Regional Center hosted a series of ADA Live! podcasts on maintaining your mental health during the coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19) where presenters shared tools and resources for teens and adults with disabilities, as well as medical and mental health professionals.
- The RRTC on Improving Employment Outcomes for Individuals with Psychiatric Disabilities offers a range of tools, from 30-second training slides introducing the importance of employment for people with lived experience of mental illness/recovery to a repository of resources for potential and current workers, providers and administrators, employers, and family members.
These are just a few examples of tools developed by NIDILRR grantees to support the mental health and participation of people with disabilities in employment, education, and community. New tools are in the works, too. Current projects are working on a mood tracking app for people with traumatic brain injury, a virtual psychological health program for women with spinal cord injury, and programs to support the mental health of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. To stay up to date on new resources, subscribe to our News and Notes from the NIDILRR Community and Beyond newsletter. Each issue includes a Resource Highlight and you might also find opportunities to help test new tools in development.