Cerebral palsy is a condition that affects mental health. A disorder that affects your mood, thinking and potential behaviour is never a good thing. Even if cerebral palsy is mild, we still have our mental health to think about. Our mental and physical health are continually deeply interconnected.
Although cerebral palsy can and does increase our risk of developing depression and anxiety, untreated anxiety and depression contributes to poor physical health. It is easy for others to overlook the importance of mental health around the condition and assume that our experiences are caused by cerebral palsy, when that isn’t the case.
It is not cerebral palsy that causes depression or anxiety. It is mental health issues associated with the condition that causes anxiety and depression.
People with disabilities or chronic health conditions like cerebral palsy are 3 to 4 times more likely to develop depression and anxiety. Anxiety and depression is not necessarily related to the severity of a person’s disability, but is tied to managing the pain, fatigue, a disability around family and support and social skills.
Assessing a person’s mental health should be a key component of health screenings and practitioners recognising the signs of mental health issues in patients is key to us improving mental health in society, and our communities.