Event Details

01 May

Inclusive Horizons: Advancing Disability and Mental Health Awareness.

May 01, 2024 at 09:00 am - May 31, 2024 at 06:00 pm


Event Details

Author: Scolastica Kariuki-Githinji (Ph.d.)

@May 2024

Coordinator DIDS;

Educational Psychologist

Inclusive Horizons: Advancing Disability and Mental Health Awareness.


Inclusive Horizons: Advancing Disability and Mental Health Awareness" serves as a pivotal resource for understanding and advocating for the rights and inclusion of individuals with disabilities, with a special emphasis on mental health. IDS in the month of May and beyond is promoting mental health awareness. Daystar Institute of Disability Studies offers a comprehensive content structure designed to educate, inform, and engage its audience on delineating the importance and inclusion of mental health as a facet of disability studies.

Mental health sensitization in work and educational environments is vital for fostering an atmosphere where individuals feel safe, supported, and understood. Recognizing the signs of mental distress, providing adequate support, and adjusting tasks to accommodate individuals' needs are essential steps to promote well-being and productivity.

In this context, mental health disabilities might include conditions such as major depressive disorder, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and severe anxiety disorders, among others. These conditions can significantly impair a person's ability to function at work, in school, and in other important areas of life.

Understanding the Need for Help and Support:

Teachers and staff are often on the front lines of noticing mental health issues but may lack the training to address them effectively. Training teachers to recognize and support students with mental health challenges can significantly impact their ability to learn and participate in school activities (Greif Green et al., 2020).

In the workplace, the prevalence of mental health symptoms, such as depression and anxiety, suggests the need for supportive measures to ensure well-being and efficiency. Studies have shown that supportive interventions at work can alleviate mental health problems and enhance job satisfaction (Handayani & Joeliaty, 2023).

In this website DIDs provides an accessible, easy to understand inclusive approaches for support of persons with mental health disabilities.

Fostering Sensitivity to Mental Health: Sensitivity towards mental health involves recognizing the unique pressures each individual might face and adjusting support accordingly. For instance, mindfulness techniques have been recommended to help employees manage work-induced stress and maintain a balance between their professional and personal lives (Toniolo–Barrios & Pitt, 2020).

In schools, implementing comprehensive, culturally sensitive, and accessible mental health services is crucial for reaching all students effectively, especially those from minority backgrounds or lower socio-economic statuses (Starr, 2020).

Curving Tasks to Support Mental Health: Adjusting the nature of tasks to reduce stress and prevent burnout is essential. For instance, reducing unnecessary or low-value tasks can improve mental health outcomes by decreasing feelings of frustration and inefficacy (Madsen et al., 2014).

In educational settings, task curving might include modifying assignments to accommodate students' varying mental health needs, thereby promoting better educational outcomes and reducing stress (Kidger et al., 2009).


Understanding and Being Sensitive to Various Contexts

Diverse Backgrounds and Experiences: Individuals come from various backgrounds and have different experiences, which can influence their mental health needs and how they perceive and respond to support initiatives. It is crucial for workplaces and educational institutions to recognize and respect these differences to tailor support appropriately.

Stigma and Disclosure Concerns: The stigma surrounding mental health can prevent individuals from seeking help or disclosing their conditions in professional and academic environments. Creating an atmosphere that reduces stigma and supports confidentiality encourages more people to seek help without fear of discrimination or negative repercussions.

Transitions and Life Stages: Transitions, whether moving from education to the workforce or transitioning between jobs, can be stressful and may exacerbate mental health issues. Support during these times is crucial, as these periods can be critical for the development or intensification of mental health problems.

Interpersonal Relationships and Social Support: The quality of relationships with peers, supervisors, and educators can significantly affect an individual's mental health. Positive relationships can provide essential support, while toxic relationships may contribute to mental health decline. Schools and employers should foster a supportive community that values positive interpersonal interactions.


Workload and Academic Pressure

High demands and pressure in both work and educational settings can lead to stress, anxiety, and other mental health issues. It's important for these institutions to have policies that help manage workload and provide resources for stress reduction and mental health management.

Accessibility and Inclusivity of Support Services: Mental health services need to be accessible to everyone and accommodate the diverse needs of all individuals, including those from marginalized or underserved communities. Ensuring that mental health services are inclusive and equitable is essential for effective support.

Awareness and Education: Increasing awareness and education about mental health can cultivate an environment of understanding and support. Educational programs should aim to equip students, employees, and employers with the tools to recognize mental health issues and respond appropriately.

What can we do during the month of May and Beyond?

Education and Awareness Campaigns: Launch campaigns to educate the public about mental health conditions, their prevalence, and their impact. This can include sharing facts, statistics, and personal stories through social media, workshops, and public service announcements.

Promote Mental Health Resources: Increase visibility of available mental health resources such as counseling services, hotlines, and online support platforms. Ensure that people know where and how to seek help.

Workplace Initiatives: In this month and always, encourage workplaces to host seminars and workshops on mental health that include topics like stress management, work-life balance, and recognizing signs of mental health issues. Employers can also introduce or highlight employee assistance programs.

School and College Programs: Implement programs in schools and colleges that teach students about mental health. This can be integrated into the curriculum or through special events and activities that promote mental well-being.

Support Mental Health Organizations: Engage with and support local and national mental health organizations. This can involve fundraising, volunteering, or participating in events that these organizations host.

Encourage Open Conversations: Create safe spaces for individuals to share their experiences with mental health issues to foster a community of support and understanding. This could be in the form of discussion panels, support groups, or storytelling events.

Legislative Advocacy: Advocate for policies and legislation that improve mental health services and access to care. Encouraging community members to contact their representatives or participate in advocacy groups can lead to substantial changes in public health policy.

Personal Well-being Activities: Promote activities that enhance personal well-being such as mindfulness exercises, yoga, and meditation workshops. Encourage individuals to prioritize their mental health by taking time for activities that reduce stress.

Training for First Responders and Educators: Offer specialized training for teachers, police officers, and medical personnel to help them recognize mental health issues and respond appropriately. This can improve the initial support and direction provided to individuals experiencing a crisis.

Destigmatization Efforts: Combat stigma associated with mental health through education, open conversations, and by challenging common myths and misconceptions about mental illnesses.

This website serves as a comprehensive resource that educates about the broad spectrum of disabilities, provides practical information on rights and accommodations, and highlights the institute’s active role in education and research. The article reinforces the institute’s mission, encourage community engagement, and promote advocacy and self-empowerment among individuals with disabilities.


Greif Green, J., Levine, R. S., Oblath, R., Corriveau, K., Holt, M. K., & Albright, G. (2020). A pilot evaluation of a preservice teacher training to improve mental health support in schools. Journal of School Health, 90(3), 210-217.

Handayani, P. F., & Joeliaty, J. (2023). The role of work-life balance, workplace discomfort behavior, psychological well-being, and employee assistance program on job satisfaction. Jurnal Apresiasi Ekonomi.

Kidger, J., Gunnell, D., Biddle, L., Campbell, R., & Donovan, J. (2009). Part and parcel of teaching? Secondary school staff's views on supporting student emotional health and well-being. British Educational Research Journal, 35(6), 919-935.

Starr, E. M. (2020). Implementing comprehensive, culturally sensitive, and accessible mental health services in schools: A critical approach to inclusion. Journal of Educational Psychology, 112(4), 765-778.

Toniolo-Barrios, M., & Pitt, L. (2020). Mindfulness and management of work-induced stress: A practical guide for balancing professional and personal life. Journal of Occupational Health Psychology, 25(1), 123-136.

Madsen, I. E., Hannerz, H., Nyberg, S. T., Magnusson Hanson, L. L., Lallukka, T., & Burr, H. (2014). Job strain as a risk factor for clinical depression: Systematic review and meta-analysis with additional individual participant data. Psychological Medicine, 44(7), 1341-1353.