When we talk about mental health for individuals with FASD, we often talk about the mental health issues people with FASD commonly experience. But it is important to remember that mental health more than mental illness. Our mental health “includes our emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It affects how we think, feel, and act. It also helps determine how we handle stress, relate to others, and make choices. Mental health is important at every stage of life, from childhood and adolescence through adulthood.”
For individuals with FASD, it can be difficult to develop the skills you need to maintain good mental health. There are a number of things that might be a barrier to you achieving good mental health, such as your personal challenges, stigma, and lack of services available. But there are ways that you can work to improve your mental health despite these barriers. Below are 5 strategies that you can use!
1. Focus on your strengths
Identify your strengths. Find things you are interested in, that you do well, and that you’re talented at. Work to grow your strengths by practicing these skills and applying them to your daily life.
If you don’t know what your strengths are, look at the information from your professional diagnostic assessment or ask your friends and family what they think you do well.
2. Develop good coping strategies
Coping strategies are the things you do to calm yourself down when you start to feel overwhelmed. Figure out healthy ways that you can cope with feelings of anger, stress, anxiety, or sadness. Healthy coping strategies will look different for everyone. Your coping strategies might include deep breathing exercises, doing a physical activity, getting creative, or something else unique to you.
Remember: drinking alcohol and/or using substances are not healthy coping strategies.