May 1, 2024 | Mental Health, Neurodiversity

The Connection Between Mental Health and Neurodiversity

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Candor Diversity Group aims to foster understanding, acceptance, and empowerment. Today, we will discuss the intricate relationship between neurodiversity and mental health and ways to champion positive environments for everyone. 

What is Neurodiversity and Mental Health

The term “neurodiversity” is commonly credited to sociologist Judy Singer in the 1990s. However, despite her publicizing them, the terms “neurological diversity” and “neurodiversity” were first printed in 1997 and 1998 “in the work of the journalist Harvey Blume, who himself attributed them not to Singer but rather to the online community of autistic people, such as the ‘Institute for the Study of the Neurologically Typical’.”

Between 10% and 20% of the global population is considered neurodivergent with certain variations in the brain. Neurodiversity is a celebration of the unique strengths, talents, and abilities found in different brains. 

“The Neurodiversity Movement has become a powerful minority-rights campaign, inspiring the world’s largest companies to radically shift their hiring and talent management practices. A thriving cottage industry has developed to advise employers through consultancy and professional services.”

– Forbes  

Mental health “is a state of mental well-being that enables people to cope with the stresses of life, realize their abilities, learn well and work well, and contribute to their community” and “exists on a complex continuum, which is experienced differently from one person to the next, with varying degrees of difficulty and distress and potentially very different social and clinical outcomes.” according to the  World Health Organization.

The connection between neurodiversity and mental health 

Mental health and neurodiversity are closely linked to one another, and current research shows that there are more cases of mental health conditions within the neurodivergent community. The Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry reports that individuals with neurodevelopmental differences can struggle more with their mental health.  

Depression is common, especially for young individuals who aren’t treated or supported appropriately. Without proper interventions and support, their condition is likely to worsen as they grow older.  

Neurodivergent individuals may feel the need to present themselves or act a particular way to be considered neurotypical, known as masking behaviour. Masking can have negative impacts and take a significant toll both mentally and physically, which is why it is vital to understand the behaviour and its effects.  

The impact of support and accommodation in the workplace 

Workers who feel supported in the workplace have fewer mental health challenges associated with navigating environments are not suited to the needs of neurodivergent individuals. Be sure to implement neurodivergent training into your business and provide accommodations and access to appropriate support to ensure everyone on your team is set up for success. 

Embracing neurodiversity, celebrating unique strengths and talents, and providing an environment for individuals to succeed can have a significant impact on a person’s mental health and overall wellbeing. Therefore, continue to advocate for others and yourself to help improve access to resources and build communities that prioritize positive mental health for everyone. 

Learn more on this topic

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