3DN is excited to announce the launch of MySigns, a tool that can be used to support the mental health assessment of people with intellectual disability and communication difficulties. MySigns can be accessed at https://mysigns.health and is free to use. With funding from NSW Health, MySigns is a digital health tool that can be used collaboratively between people with intellectual disability, their carers and mental health clinicians.
People with intellectual disability are more likely to experience mental health issues than people without intellectual disability, but mental health service quality for this group is poor. One of the major barriers to accessing mental health care is communication. Communication difficulties make it hard for clinicians to build rapport with the person with intellectual disability and to accurately assess and monitor the person’s mental health. In people with intellectual disability and communication impairments, information about their mental health can be viewed through their behaviours, expressions and gestures that are unique to the individual. However, usually only those who know the person with intellectual disability well understand the meaning of the person’s behaviours, expressions and gestures.
MySigns allows those who know the person with intellectual disability well (e.g. their family and carers) to document and share what they observe with mental health professionals (who may not know the person well), which can assist with the mental health assessment of the person. We believe that use of MySigns can help to improve mental health assessment, monitoring and treatment of people with intellectual disability.