15 May 2020

To mark Mental Health Awareness Week (held this year from 18-24 May), the RCSLT has published a mental health narrative (PDF) highlighting the links between mental health and speech, language and communication and swallowing; and the role of SLTs in promoting better mental health.

The narrative has been informed by a survey of SLTs across the UK and the mental health expertise and experience of leading speech and language therapy academics and practitioners. It makes four policy calls to deliver better mental health:

  • Workforce recognition: SLTs should be recognised as part of the core mental health workforce.
  • Embedded SLTs: SLTs should be embedded as a core part of multidisciplinary mental health teams.
  • Wider workforce: The wider education, health and social care, and justice workforce should be trained in understanding the links between speech, language, communication and mental health.
  • Research funding: Research funding should be made available to research the effect of communication difficulties on psychological intervention and the impact of speech and language therapy input on the mental health of children, young people and adults with mental health problems.

Chief Executive of the RCSLT Kamini Gadhok MBE said:

“We’re proud to mark Mental Health Awareness Week.

“It is essential that people, whatever their age or stage of life, have their speech, language, communication and swallowing needs identified and supported.

“Speech and language therapists have a critically important part to play and our narrative sets out the key ways in which we can help promote better mental health and support those living with mental ill-health.”