There is a strong connection between mental health and communication skills with more and more research into this area in recent years.
The link between mental health and communication skills goes both ways; communication skills can be impacted by mental health and communication skills can impact mental health.
Speech, language and communication needs (SLCN) can impact a person’s ability to seek mental health treatment, their engagement in therapy and the outcomes of mental health treatment.
Impact of communication needs on mental health:
- Long term communication difficulties may contribute to social isolation and loneliness.
- Communication difficulties may impact development of self-esteem, self-image and personal aspirations.
- Communication difficulties may contribute to psychological and behavioural difficulties due to the frustration involved in not being able to convey thoughts and messages effectively.
- Possibility of reduced self-advocacy because of difficulties expressing thoughts and emotions.
- Impact on quality of life.
Impact of mental health on communication:
- Effects of depression on communication may include tearfulness, irritability, decreased social awareness and interaction, impaired attention, and concentration as well as delayed information processing.
- Effects of anxiety on communication may include reduced social awareness skills and social interaction abilities.
- Effects of psychosis on communication may include reduced language and social skills, difficulty getting conveying messages effectively, difficulty understanding the messages of others, reduced language processing, difficulty reading facial and social cues.
Speech, language and communication competence are important in the development of relationships, academic and vocational achievement and mental wellbeing. Therefore, Speech Pathologists are an important part of the mental health care team.