Update on the Mental Health Project
February was a very busy month. We added 6 project advisors to the team. We launched a campaign inviting organizations to endorse the Mental Health Project’s statement of legal principles underlying the right of adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities to have prompt and equal access to the full range of mental health therapies available to people without disabilities. We also started work a series of articles on Consequence of Violating the Right to Therapy.
New Advisors to the Mental Health Project
The number of projects advisors doubled in February. We are happy to welcome:
Daniel B. LeGoff, PhD, LS, licensed and board-certified pediatric neuropsychologist, author, and the pioneer of LEGO® Therapy.
Randall Phelps, MD, PhD, Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrician and Associate Professor of Pediatrics at the Child Development and Rehabilitation Center, Institute on Development and Disability, Oregon Health and Science University.
Nirbhay N. Singh, PhD, psychologist, professor at the Medical College of Georgia at Augusta University, prolific author, and CEO of MacTavish Behavioral Health LLC.
The co-authors of Psychological First Aid for People with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Who Have Experienced Sexual Abuse also joined our team. They live in the Netherlands.
· Aafke Scharloo, MSc, clinical psychologist, consultant, and lectures internationally on issues concerning people with an intellectual disability, sexual abuse, maltreatment and trauma.
· Martine Spijker, MSc, healthcare psychologist and psychotraumatherapist.
· Simone Ebbers, MSc psychologist and a sexologist, in private practice.
In 2020, Tom Coleman, Legal Director of Spectrum Institute, researched and then wrote a statement of Legal Principles underlying the civil right of adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities to have prompt and equal access to the full range of mental health therapies available to people without disabilities. It was endorsed by nine state and national organizations. In mid-February, we initiated a champaign to bring awareness to the Legal Principles and for additional endorsements. On February 23, the National Disability Rights Network did so immediately and we are thrilled!
Series on Consequences of Violating the Right to Therapy
Our intern, Tanner Coe, began the investigative work on the first of a series of articles focusing on the consequences to adults with developmental disabilities when they are deprived of prompt and equal access to a full range of mental health therapies that are available to everyone else. The need for therapy may arise from abuse victimization or from psychiatric or psychological conditions caused by other factors – conditions such as PTSD, depression, anxiety, or any variety of mental illnesses. The consequences of being deprived of timely and appropriate mental health therapies may be emotional, psychological, medical, social, legal, or economic. Our goal is to publish the first article at the beginning of April.
The work of the Mental Health Project is ground-breaking, game changing, paradigm changing, and cutting edge. The support for our work is very exciting and, I believe, with growing awareness that we will begin to see improvements in the access to mental health services for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities in the very near future. That’s our goal, that’s our plan.
Mental Health Project Director