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Shining light on mental health struggles in intellectual, developmental disabilities community

Down Syndrome Innovations
Posted at 7:01 AM, May 28, 2024

MISSION, Kan. — We’ve heard many voices highlighting areas of mental health throughout the month of May. One community that often gets overlooked when it comes to mental health awareness is the IDD community.

IDD stands for intellectual and developmental disabilities. The CDC says adults with disabilities experience mental distress almost five times as often as adults without.

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According to Down Syndrome Innovations in Mission, people with intellectual or developmental disabilities mental health challenges aren’t all that different from those without.

The difference comes in coping or managing emotions. Down Syndrome Innovations opened right after the COVID-19 pandemic, after realizing there weren’t mental health services available for the IDD community.

“We've heard from a lot of parents over the years and caregivers over the years that they are having a hard time finding providers who are equipped to support their child or their adult with down syndrome," therapist and behavior analyst Megan Deboom said. "We also hear it from other individuals who have other forms of intellectual developmental disabilities. So, we kind of took that on and decided that that was something we could provide.”

Down Syndrome Innovations help people with down syndrome and their caregivers work on identifying emotions, calming strategies, coping strategies, among other therapy services.

The organization also works to reduce the stigma around mental health issues just like many other communities. Johnson County Mental Health has resources available for those experiencing mental health challenges.