Open dialogue can change lives and create safe and healthy communities. People deserve to discuss their struggles with mental health without judgment and should feel empowered to ask for help when needed.
People with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) often have co-occurring mental health and disability diagnoses and experience frequent mental health distress almost five times as often as adults without disabilities.
Time to Talk Day, the nation’s most influential mental health conversation, is on Thursday, February 2. This movement aims to create communities of family, friends, and colleagues that speak up about mental health without the judgment and shame that can often come with sharing.
The Arc cares about mental health. In 2020, in response to the pandemic, The Arc received a small grant to start ‘Coping with COVID.’ These small group therapy sessions, led by nationally recognized psychologist Dr. Karyn Harvey, allowed people with IDD to process their emotions about the pandemic, highlighting the need for more robust and targeted mental health services. This program inspired The Arc’s concept of behavioral health.
The Arc’s Behavioral Health takes a holistic approach to behavioral supports, focusing not on managing specific behaviors but on the necessary mental health counseling and other clinical supports that go along with it. The Arc uses licensed clinicians who have experience providing mental health counseling to people with IDD and deliver individual and group therapies through the lens of trauma-informed care.
Recognizing the importance of this work, The Arc’s Behavioral Health program is a core pillar of the strategic plan, Leading Boldly, and will receive $250,000 in federal investments to grow the clinical team over the next two years. The federal funding was secured through the FY 2023 Omnibus Appropriations Bill by U.S. Senators Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen.
“Connecting people with disabilities to the services they need is critical to helping them achieve their full potential. These federal funds will help The Arc Central Chesapeake Region meet that mission and empower people with disabilities as we build a more inclusive community,” said Senator Van Hollen, a member of the Appropriations Committee.