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Health and Mental Health

Research shows that adults in healthy relationships experience better overall physical and mental health outcomes, as well as a decreased risk of drug and alcohol abuse. We believe that integrating healthy relationship education into health and mental health settings can expand and enhance the services currently offered to better support healthy stable families.

Good health involves both emotional and physical well-being:

  • Individual mental and physical health problems can have serious consequences for the quality of relationships, just as relationships can impact individual health.
  • Healthy, stable relationships not only help produce better mental and physical health in individuals, but are also a result of better individual health.
  • In addition to the impact on the family directly, poor physical and mental health can make it difficult to sustain employment, maintain a home, care for young children, or follow through on other important tasks related to maintaining the family’s self-sufficiency.

Healthy relationship education can improve the effectiveness of health and mental health services by offering educational tools and strategies that fit well with in healthcare settings. Learn more about strategies for integrating relationship skills into your agency’s current service offerings.

Visit our Library for more free relationship- and family-related resources in variety of formats. View library resources on health and mental health services or use the search field to find information on a particular topic.

Expand an item below for information on specific health and mental health topic areas.

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Families that include someone who has recently become disabled or has had a change in his/her disability experience tremendous levels of stress:

  • Newly disabled individuals need help dealing with new challenges such as work placement issues, financial changes, and anger management. 
  • Marriage and relationship dynamics change after someone becomes disabled.
  • Raising a child with a disability can greatly impact marriages and families.

Integrating healthy relationship education into disability services can give families the tools they need to navigate these changes and challenges. The following free resources will be helpful for service providers working with families affected by disability:

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Administration for Community Living includes both the Administration on Aging and the Administration for Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (AIDD). AIDD is dedicated to ensuring that individuals with developmental disabilities and their families are able to fully participate in and contribute to all aspects of community life in the United States and its territories.

PACER's National Parent Center on Transition and Employment provides expansive resources for parents of children with special needs. They include Skills for Independent Living: Parents Help Build Social Skills, which offers parents tips on helping their children to understand and navigate interpersonal situations; High Expectations: A Most Valuable Tool, which emphasizes the importance of expectations to children; and Making the Move to High School: Tips for Parents of Students with Disabilities, which addresses the changes that youth encounter as they transition from middle school.
 
In the health arena, the National Initiative for Children's Healthcare Quality has created Powerful Partnerships: A Handbook for Families and Providers Working Together to Improve Care, a guide to help families and providers improve health outcomes for children with special needs. The American Academy of Pediatrics’ National Center for Medical Home Implementation offers a customizable Building Your Care Notebook that families can use to track their child’s care.
 

Learning Disabilities

It is important to identify, discuss, and include accommodations and modifications necessary to meet the specific needs of a student in an Individualized Education Program (IEP) or under a 504 Plan.  Accommodations and Modifications: A Parent and Child Checklist (PDF, 120 KB) is a checklist from PACER Center Inc. that helps parents and children to to think through the needs to include in the IEP or 504 Plan.

Mental health issues can place serious strains on relationships, families, and children. Mental health services integrated with relationship education can help families and couples in these situations; a mental health condition must be treated in order for relationship education to be effective, and relationship education can help build the support network an individual needs to effectively seek treatment for an illness. For example, individuals in treatment for depression can use healthy relationship skills to better communicate with their partners during treatment.

The following free resources will be helpful for service providers looking for resources on integrating mental health services and relationship education:

Marriage and Mental Health: Coping with Depression and Other Problems (PDF, 708 KB) is a Resource Center fact sheet that provides a brief, yet comprehensive, review of the relevant research on mental health and offers strategies that safety-net service providers can use to assist couples dealing with mental distress, especially depression.

Conversatorios en su comunidad (Toolkit for Community Conversations About Mental Health) contains resources developed by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) for Spanish-language speakers and professionals who work with Latinos on addressing mental health issues.

Integrating healthy marriage and relationship education can be an important part of a holistic healthcare approach for families served by public and community health centers.

The following free resources will be helpful for service providers looking for resources on integrating public health services and relationship education:

A Win-Win Partnership: Public Health and Healthy Marriage and Relationship Education Skills (PDF, 508 KB) is a Resource Center tip sheet that addresses ways that safety-net service providers can integrate relationship education into existing public health services.

Why Good Health Matters in Relationships (PDF, 609 KB) is a Resource Center tip sheet that will help safety-net service providers raise consciousness and start couples off on the path to improving their health and well-being.

Integrating Conversations about Healthy Marriage and Relationship Education into Prenatal and Pediatric Programs (PDF, 396 KB) is a Resource Center tip sheet that provides specific guidelines for healthcare providers to start and facilitate conversations with parents and children on core relationship skills.

Visit health.gov, from the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, and find guides to healthy living (on topics such as diet and physical activity) that you can share directly with families.

The National Institutes of Health (NIH), a part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, conducts research to improve our nation’s health and save lives. NIH is made up of 27 Institutes and Centers, each with a specific research focus, often on particular diseases or body systems. For example, the National Eye Institute (NEI) supports the National Eye Health Education Program (NEHEP) that recently published a Glaucoma Toolkit and a Diabetes and Healthy Eyes Toolkit that may be useful for service providers looking to learn about and share information with families about specific health issues.

Healthy relationship education is an effective complement to drug or alcohol treatment programs:

  • Effectively managing life stress and stressors is essential to maintaining sobriety.
  • Substance abusers often resort to relationship damaging behaviors such as deception and manipulation. 
  • Recovering addicts need to learn or re-learn how to foster healthy relationships and effectively deal with their challenges.

Incorporating healthy relationship education into drug or alcohol treatment programs can provide patients with a more holistic approach to treatment. Additionally, strengthening existing relationships creates a support network for recovery.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) offers free publications on substance abuse that can be shared directly with couples and families struggling with these issues.

SAMHSA also provides resources for clinicians, administrators, and practitioners. Treatment Improvement Protocol 39, Substance Abuse Treatment and Family Therapy, addresses how substance abuse affects the entire family; provides basic information about family therapy for substance abuse treatment professionals, and basic information about substance abuse treatment for family therapists.