We all hope for mental health: the capacity to enjoy life and cope with its challenges. Problems that affect this capacity are varied in type and severity. In some severe cases the term psychiatric illness, or mental illness, is used. Mental health problems can affect both children and adults. Changes in communication skills, social skills, and swallowing patterns (dysphagia) are features of mental health problems that speech and language therapists may be involved with.
There are many different causes for dementia but sufferers usually have linguistic deficits (e.g. difficulties with understanding, reasoning, talking and memory). With some other mental health problems (e.g. bipolar disorder, depression) there may be no loss of language skills, but people have reduced non-verbal communication, and altered social interaction skills.
A rare disorder of childhood is known as selective mutism (previously known as elective mutism). The children are able to speak but persistently fail to do so in specific situations over a long period. This affects progress in education and social skills. Speech therapists can provide intervention and support for children with selective mutism. Youngsters with a diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder may experience mental health problems (e.g. obsessive compulsive disorder – OCD, oppositional defiant disorder – ODD, anxiety, depression).
Some characteristics of mental health problems:
Speech and language therapists are often involved with multi-professional teams working in mental health settings. The client is always under the care of a psychiatrist and may have a Care Coordinator and/or social worker in the community.
The following may form part of therapy input for people with mental health problems:
Some points you may wish to discuss with any therapist you contact:
Click here to search for Speech Therapists in your area with Mental Health as a specialty.
Last updated: January 26th, 2018