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Empowering Minds: Breakthroughs to Boost Mental Health for Individuals with Disabilities

May is Mental Health Awareness Month

By Diana Jordan, Assistant Digital Media Editor, Media/Communications Department

A man in a wheelchair facing the ocean and sunriseMay is Mental Health Awareness Month, a time to raise awareness, share helpful resources, and engage in conversations about the importance of emotional well-being. Many people, particularly those with disabilities, may struggle with anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, or other types of mental conditions, and may be unsure how or where to get help. At Kessler Foundation, our research focuses on how mental health disorders affect those with disabilities and creating new interventions to encourage healthy management of these issues.

Positive Health in Multiple Sclerosis

Lauren Strober, PhD, is assistant director of Cognitive Health and Well-being in the Center for Neuropsychology & Neuroscience. Her research team examines the function of social integration and support on health and psychological well-being among individuals with multiple sclerosis (MS). Two ongoing studies include: Reinventing Yourself with MS and Improving Psychological Wellbeing in MS.

“Efforts to enhance individuals’ social connectedness should be considered an important health intervention and is, in fact, ‘prescribed’ by physicians in the United Kingdom,” said Dr. Strober. “MS clinicians should inquire about individuals’ social activity, particularly in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, and urge patients to be socially active and find meaningful, social outlets,” she asserted.

Depression and Traumatic Brain Injury

As director of the Cognitive and Affective Neuropsychology Laboratory and associate director, Neuropsychology Research, in the Center for Traumatic Brain Injury Research, Jean Lengenfelder, PhD, leads a team that studies emotional processing, social cognition, mindfulness meditation, and caregiver resilience. One of the Lab’s studies involves feedback and learning in individuals with and without clinical depression and traumatic brain injury (TBI). Another study focuses on the comparison of two different programs aimed at improving the psychological and emotional well-being in people with moderate-to-severe TBI.

Meditation Podcasts for All

To improve the quality of everyone’s mental health – including people with and without TBI – our Center for Traumatic Brain Injury has launched a new podcast series, “Mindful Meditation.” Throughout the month of May, we are releasing guided, accessible, and inclusive episodes for our listeners. Relax to these five-to-15-minute practices at home, in your car, at work, or anytime you feel the need to decompress from your day.

The Mindful Meditation series instructor is Siobhan Gibbons, EdD, a licensed psychologist in New Jersey. Since 2010, she has been teaching stress management, mindfulness meditation, and mindfulness-based stress reduction, an eight-week, evidence-based program that offers secular, intensive mindfulness training to assist people with stress, anxiety, depression, and pain.




Interested in volunteering for a clinical study at Kessler Foundation?

Check out the multiple trials currently recruiting on our Join a Research Study webpage.