New emotional well-being resources for use


New resources to help look after the emotional well-being of people who have Down’s syndrome, but are applicable to anybody with a learning disabiliy, have been launched. Following a 40% rise in calls to its Helpline, the Down’s Syndrome Association have released the FREE multi-media resources for parents, carers, social sector workers, and people who have Down’s syndrome.

The charity has spent the last two years working on the materials, and their launch could not be more timely, coming as it does in the midst of COVID-19 and ongoing regional lockdowns.

The comprehensive suite of resources covers subjects such as: feelings, bullying, stress, relaxation, anger, growing up, bereavement, and changes that can happen within families. There are accessible Easy Read resources for each subject, and the charity has worked with people who have Down’s syndrome throughout, to ensure their lived experiences and needs are reflected.

Gillian Bird, Services Director of the Down’s Syndrome Association said:

‘We are delighted to see this huge body of work come together. Designed in collaboration between our expert staff and around 90 people who have Down’s syndrome, the resources will be invaluable for parents, care providers, NHS Trusts and anyone who is concerned about promoting positive emotional well-being at this difficult time.’

Dramatic changes in all our lives during the past six months have resulted in challenging times for everyone, but even more so for people who have Down’s syndrome. The usual rhythm of life has been disrupted without warning, leaving feelings of isolation, anxiety and frustration. Many people have additional health conditions affecting respiratory and cardiac health, and it can be hard to understand social-distancing and the wearing of face masks. Add to this a possible difficulty communicating feelings both mentally and physically, and it is clear that now, more than ever, that these resources are vital.

‘The mental health needs of people who have a learning disability have long been overlooked. Sometimes people wrongly think that having Down’s syndrome is the reason for a behaviour or problem (called ‘diagnostic overshadowing’) and thus, people with the condition can find it difficult to be listened to. They may need extra help to learn about feelings and emotions, and how to cope with them in positive ways.’
Gillian Bird, Services Director, Down’s Syndrome Association

The suite of resources is split into different subjects areas, and all are available FREE from the charity. It includes practical tasks and teaching resources such as the ‘stress bucket’ method, as well as a relaxation audio and a video featuring people who have Down’s syndrome talking about what helps them to relax.

The resources can be downloaded for FREE from the DSA’s website.