Our featured service this month is Health Mind, an online Easy Read tool from Black Dog Institute designed to help people with an intellectual disability to recognise and regulate their thoughts and feelings.
Black Dog Institute is a leading Australian mental health research institute, founded in 2002, that focuses on understanding, preventing, and treating mental illnesses. They aim to improve the lives of those affected by mental health conditions through innovative research, clinical services, and education programs. Their work actively promotes mental health awareness, advocates for reduced stigma surrounding mental illness, and improve long-term health solutions.
About Healthy Mind
Healthy Mind is an online easy read tool developed by Black Dog Institute to help people with Intellectual Disability (ID) recognise and regulate their thoughts and feelings and learn to have a happier and healthier life.
Healthy Mind enables users to explore topics in any order, depending on their needs and interests. Each module provides information to learn about the chosen topic and video clips outline activities to practice what has been learned.
Enabled for desktop and tablet use, Healthy Mind offers various accessibility features including:
- An Easy English translation supported with images
- An audio function for all content
- Video content
- Simple step by step guides
- Worksheets and progress sheets
- A design that aligns with the unique needs of its users.
The initiative has been built on adapted psychological strategies used by doctors and psychologists, with input from people with lived experience and a wide range of health professionals. Following a successful feasibility trial, this program is now widely available for implementation.
What does Healthy Mind include?
Healthy Mind is comprised of five online learning modules to choose from:
- Breathe an relax – a series of short videos on how to breathe deeply and relax your body.
- Tackling unhelpful thinking – a series of short activities to recognise unhelpful thought patterns.
- Having more fun – an activity planner to schedule more enjoyable activities into your week.
- Taming anger – a series of short videos and activities on how to recognise and regulate anger.
- Recognising feelings – a series of short videos and activities to help understand your emotions.
These modules can be accessed in any order, and people can come back and use parts of the program they would like to continue practicing or found most helpful at any time.
What are the benefits of using Healthy Mind?
The Healthy Mind step by step approach has many benefits including:
- Providing practical strategies to help the people you care for and about.
- Facilitating conversations about mental health in a safe way.
- Providing support when face-to-face therapy is not available.
- Providing a supplementary level of support in conjunction with face-to-fact therapy.
Who is Healthy Mind for?
Healthy Mind was designed for adults with mild to borderline Intellectual Disorder who might be experiencing mild to moderate depression, anxiety or stress, or interested in sustaining and building good mental health.
How can clinicians use Healthy Mind?
Healthy Mind was designed to provide an accessible resource whilst recognising that support may be need for optimal use. Clinicians can support someone using Healthy Mind by:
- Help the person choose a time and space where they will not be interrupted.
- Take advantage of the downloadable worksheets and progress sheets by printing them out.
- Give the person the time and space to reflect on the activities and make their own decisions and give their own answers.
- Help the person to understand what is being asked and how to navigate the page if necessary.
- Help the person compose and type in answers to activity questions.
Is there a cost to use Healthy Mind?
There is no cost to use Healthy Mind.
How to access Healthy Mind
Healthy Mind Research and Evaluation
Healthy Mind was developed by Black Dog Institute, with input from people with lived experience and a wide range of health professionals.
The concept of an a accessible e-learning mental health tool for people with mild to borderline Intellectual Disability was evaluated for feasibility, accessibility and acceptability throughout 2018 with input from people with ID, carers, support workers, allied health professionals, and mental health clinicians. The study can be found here.