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World Mental Health Day

  • By Abi Hart
  • 9th October 2023

The 10th of October is World Mental Health Day. The Day is all about raising awareness of mental health and helping those to make positive changes for their mental health.

Having a good mental health is very important as it influences the way we behave in every aspect of our lives. It impacts the way we think, feel and interact with one another. Having positive mental health allows us to make good decisions, create strong relationships with and enjoy the things we love.

The theme for 2023’s World Mental Health Day is ‘Mental Health is a universal human right’. This means that positive mental health is crucial for everyone, no matter who you are.

But what does mental heath mean for those with learning disabilities?

Firstly, it is important to understand that a learning disability is not a mental health issue, as the two are often confused. A learning disability affects someone’s ability to learn and understand things for the whole of their life. Mental health issues, on the other hand, can affect anyone and can arise at any point in someone’s life. Mental health issues can be overcome by treatment but learning disabilities cannot.

However, this does not mean the two are not linked, in fact a study found that 54% of people with a learning disability have a mental health problem compared to 25% of the general population. There are many reasons as to why those with learning disabilities disproportionality suffer from ill mental health:

· People with a Learning disability often need more social support which is often not met, increasing stress.

· Societal stigma can often lead to bullying and negative behaviour directed towards those with a learning disability, which can also be internalised leading to psychological distress.

· Those with learning disabilities understand things differently, meaning they are often misunderstood, leading to negative feelings.

By identifying the link between learning disabilities and mental health issues this only further highlights the need for Leeds Mencap. By providing services that aim to mitigate the reasons that lead to poor mental health, through our support groups, schemes and advice services.

Negative mental health also can affect those close to someone with a learning disability. Leeds Mencap ensure that parents have the correct support and also run a support group for siblings. By offering a safe space that understands those with learning disabilities and their families, Leeds Mencap aims to have positive effects on mental health for everyone, emphasising this year’s theme of World Mental Health Day. – ‘Mental health is a universal human righ

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