Disability and Mental Health

Just like your disability, mental illness is not a choice. Mental illnesses are biologically based brain disorders. Left untreated or ignored, they can cause severe disturbances in the processing of feelings, thoughts and your relationships. This results in substantially diminished capacity for dealing with the ordinary demands of life. Mental illness can affect persons of any age and occur in any family. They are not caused by bad parenting and not evidence of weakness of character or choice. Mental illnesses, just like disabilities, are to be treated with evidence based medical care and therapy.

According to the CDC, adults with disabilities report experiencing more mental distress than those without disabilities. Frequent mental distress is associated with poor health behaviors, increased use of health services, mental disorders, chronic disease, and limitations in daily life. The MJAA has gathered these mental health resources informed by the needs of people with disabilities to foster a community of knowledge and compassionate care.

If you are in crisis reach out to:

Suicide and Crisis Lifeline:

988
988lifeline.org
Call or text to reach a trained counselor 24/7. This communication is confidential and free.

988 Video and other Deaf or hard of hearing options

Crisis Text Line:

TEXT HOME to 741741.
This communication is available 24/7

Resources

Local

BeWell Miami

BeWell Miami  is a program of the Greater Miami Jewish Federation and is dedicated to promoting the well-being of young people. With BeWell, you will find support and tools to respond to the growing mental health concerns of young people aged 12 to 26, and resources for adolescents, parents, caregivers and Jewish professionals.

Call 1.833.90BWELL (833.902.9355) or text BEWELL to 898211.

Jewish Community Services Access:
305.576.6550.
JCS Access professionals are available from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Thursday, and 9 a.m.-4 p.m. on Fridays. JCS maintains a 24-hour, on-call service that is staffed by Helpline Counselors after hours and on weekends.

National Alliance on Mental Health, Miami

NAMI Miami offers understanding to anyone concerned about mental illnesses and the treatment of mental illness and serves Miami-Dade and Monroe County.  Reach out to NAMI Miami for support, resources and community.

University of Miami’s Center for Autism and Related Disabilities

A free to the user resource across the life span for people with autism and their families and community institutions. This page is dedicated to informed mental health care resources.

Yahalom Florida

Yahalom helps parents of special needs children obtain the appropriate resources by guiding, educating, and empowering them to ensure they have the help and support they need.

Autism Mental Health Resources – Autism Research Institute

ARI works to advance the health of autistic people through biomedical research and free education.

Autistic Self Advocacy Network (ASAN)

Run by and for autistic individuals, ASAN provides advocacy, resources, and support for autistic people, including those with co-occurring mental health conditions.

People with Disabilities | Florida Department of Health (floridahealth.gov)

The Florida Department of Health works to protect, promote, and improve the health of all people in Florida through integrated state, county, and community efforts. This page offers some information.

Mental Health Resources – Disability Rights Florida

Disability Rights Florida is a nonprofit organization that provides legal advocacy and rights protection for adults and children with a wide range of disabilities. This is their resource page.

National

The Mental Health of People with Disabilities CDC

Provides information on the mental health challenges faced by people with disabilities and offers resources for promoting mental well-being.

Matan

Matan is committed to meeting Jewish communities, organizations and schools 
where they are on their inclusion journey. They work collaboratively to train, coach 
and guide Jewish communal professionals, lay leaders and educators towards systemic disability inclusion. Matan’s resources include topics such as student anxiety, learning differences and now includes young adults as well.

Nation Alliance for Mental Illness (NAMI)  NAMI offers support groups, educational resources, and advocacy for individuals with mental illness, including those with disabilities. NAMI provides information on dual diagnosis and co-occurring conditions.

Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities National Training Center (MHDD-NTC)

The Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities (MHDD) National Training Center is a collaboration between the University Centers for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities (UCEDD) at the University of Kentucky, University of Alaska Anchorage, and Utah State University. It provides training, resources, and research to improve services and support for the mental health needs of individuals with developmental disabilities.

Disability Rights Education & Defense Fund (DREDF)

A leading national civil rights law and policy center dedicated to advancing the rights of people with disabilities through advocacy, legal action, and education.

National Center on Health, Physical Activity and Disability (NCHPAD)

Offers resources on physical activity, nutrition, and mental health for individuals with disabilities. Promotes inclusive health and wellness programs

American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (AAIDD)

Provides resources, research, and advocacy for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities, including information on co-occurring mental health issues.

 

Discussions and Articles on Mental Health and Disability 

JFNA Roundtable on Youth Mental Health and Neurodiversity

You Tube link to April 2024 Roundtable on the intersection of neurodiversity and mental health with Jewish Federations of North America, BeWell, RespectAbility, Gateways and Matan.

Child Mind Institute –  What Is Neurodiversity? And how can parents support kids who are neurodivergent? (April 2023)

Psychology Today – Is There a Link Between Neurodiversity and Mental Health? A better understanding of the brain can help to improve patient care (August 2021)

FHE Health – Common Mental Health Struggles Among The Neurodiverse Community (February 2023)

The Times of Israel –  Being Invisible | Rabbi Sandra Cohen (June 2022)

TEDx Talk – SORRY NOT SORRY: The Journey to Embrace My Disability | Pamela Rae Schuller (May 2023)

 Academic and Research Resources

Journal of Mental Health Research in Intellectual Disabilities

Publishes research articles on mental health issues affecting individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

Disability and Health Journal

An academic journal focusing on the intersection of disability and health, including mental health topics.

 

Special thanks to the many professionals who reviewed this page especially the clinicians at BE Well Miami, UM CARD, Jewish Community Services of South Florida, Pediatric Psychology Associates and Mailman Center for Childhood Development at the Miller School of Medicine, UM.