09 May 2023 Communication Corner – May is Mental Health Awareness Month! Research has shown that effective communication is key to positive mental health. Communication drives our ability to form relationships and share our wants and needs with another person. It also allows us to discuss our deeper thoughts and feelings as we build relationships. In fact, a Harvard study showed that the people who are most satisifed with their lives are those with supportive, positive relationships. This makes it even more important to ensure that every person has access to communication they can understand. Unfortunately, we know that this is not always the case. When we don’t encourage and support non-traditional communicators, they can feel hopeless and helpless, leading to increased isolation and depression. Below are some tips to support communication access: Know the person you are supporting What are their communication needs? Do they have any sensory barriers? Plan for communication in advance Do you need a device to be charged daily? Do you need an interpreter? Make a back-up plan Is there an alternative communication method if the primary method is not available? Share information Are you sharing information with the person that they need to know? Are you trying to include them in all facets of their life? Take time to listen Do you need extra time to discuss plans or other things with them? Are you allowing for them to answer questions and have conversations at their own pace? Value the person Are you working on forming a positive relationship? Are you encouraging support and connection by showing interest? Together we can ensure communication access and healthy, positive relationships for all!