Online program offering mental health support to Australians with ID

Black Dog Institute

The Black Dog Institute will soon launch an online program offering mental health support to those with intellectual disabilities (ID).

The program, called Healthy Mind, will be the first of its kind and will be delivered as a website. It uses an Easy Read tool designed to help people with intellectual disabilities to recognise and regulate their thoughts and feelings. The program offers CBT, mindfulness and positive psychology techniques adapted for users.

“Mental illness is more common among people with intellectual disability than the general population yet there was nothing online specifically designed to be accessed by this community for support,” says Chloe Heck, Senior Project Officer at the Black Dog Institute.

“Supporting the mental health of those with intellectual disabilities is critical to enable people to lead their best possible lives.”

In collaboration with the Department of Development, Disability and Neuropsychiatry (3DN) at UNSW, the Black Dog Institute is running a clinical trial – called Intellectual Disability Trial for Wellbeing Online (IDTWO). IDTWO aims to study exactly how tools like Healthy Mind support the mental health of people with intellectual disability.

“We’re very excited to share Healthy Mind with the ID community”, says Dr Peter Baldwin, Lead Investigator on the IDTWO trial.

“We are inviting all Australians with ID to sign up to the trial and help us understand how and why these tools can benefit them.”

3DN’s Professor Julian Trollor, who is UNSW’s Chair of Intellectual Disability Mental Health, views IDTWO as an important development in improving access to mental health support for people with intellectual disability.

“It is critical that the mental health needs of people with intellectual disability are incorporated into digital health initiatives. I am excited to be partnering in this initiative, led by Black Dog Institute,” says Julian.

People can sign up for the IDTWO trial by visiting the study website: https://blackdoginstitute.org.au/IDTWO

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