What’s The Connection Between Speech Therapy And Mental Health?

How Speech Disorders Shape Mental Health in Children and Adults | Voz Speech Therapy Services Bilingual Speech Therapist Clinic Washington DC

Imagine if, for just one day, every word you spoke was a hurdle.

Everything from saying thank you to the barista to participating in lunch is a mental burden.

Even then, you struggle to be understood, to communicate, the core of the human experience.

For people with speech disorders, it can be a heavy burden that wears away their mental resilience and mental wellbeing.

As Washington DC speech pathologists, we understand this.

This experience is especially true for young people.

81% of young people with social, mental, or emotional health issues have some kind of language, communication, or speech difficulty.

It’s a widespread problem.

That 81% number is so huge that it’s crucial to see mental health struggles and speech disorders as deeply entwined things.

Talking about one without the other is incomplete.

This trend is why speech therapy needs to be both personalized and holistic.

Merely addressing the condition must also address quality of life, socializing, and mental health.

The best time to see a speech therapist is early, especially for children.

The sooner your child sees a speech therapist, the better the outcome tends to be.

Today, let’s dig into the deeply entwined issues of speech disorders and mental health and how one feeds off the other.

How Can Speech Disorders Affect Mental Health?

Dealing with a speech or language disorder can cause significant psychological effects.

Communication is at the core of the human experience.

Struggling to communicate with people can lead to extreme frustration.

That frustration can come out in a myriad of poor mental health outcomes.

It’s not uncommon for those with speech disorders to experience social isolation due to their difficulty communicating.

This is, in itself, another driver of mental health issues.

These struggles all culminate in a range of troublesome behaviors.

Surveys suggest that young people are three times as likely to exhibit behaviors that worry their parents, demonstrating this phenomenon.

While it’s important to address these mental health concerns, it can be difficult to do that without also addressing a speech or language disorder.

After all, many forms of psychotherapy require you to communicate with your therapist.

But if it’s communication in the first place that’s triggering your mental health concerns, psychotherapy might not be as effective.

That’s not even mentioning that often mental health struggles have language issues at their roots.

One study found that 40% of children referred to a psychiatrist had undiagnosed and unaddressed language difficulties.

This is why speech therapy and psychological therapy can, in many cases, be mutually beneficial.

It can result in more significant assistance than the sum of its parts.

In Children

Children are particularly vulnerable to mental health concerns as a result of speech or language disorders.

Children have many developmental milestones to meet as they grow.

Speech or language disorders can delay these key milestones if left untreated.

RELATED: How To Recognize Speech Or Language Developmental Delays In Children

A major part of childhood is the development of the independent self.

Seeing themself as part of a social unit, one with developed relationships.

Children with speech disorders often have a limited vocabulary, which impedes the development of their social selves.

Unsurprisingly, this can lead to a feeling of social isolation.

In most cases, children are too young to understand why they feel this way, which can lead them to internalizing those feelings.

This can result in low self esteem, and present a number of other issues as well.

For example, it can cause difficulty thinking through things like cause and effect.

It can also cause difficulty seeing implications or social cues.

If your child is dealing with low self esteem, a mental health counsellor can help.

But that’s only if they can communicate what they think and feel effectively.

In that case, speech therapy can help.

And the best time to do so is as early as possible.

With the right support, your child can get back on track and hit these crucial milestones.

Early intervention speech therapy can help improve your child’s mental health by identifying any issues early and addressing them proactively.

The longer speech issues go unaddressed, the more the frustration and missed milestones can compound on each other.

It can cause more and harder struggles later in childhood and later in life.

Catching speech disorders early can prevent behavioral problems and mental health concerns before they even begin to manifest.

In Adults

In some cases, children with untreated speech or language disorders will grow into adults with the same disorders.

If that’s you, you may feel like your speech or language disorder hurts your social relationships and professional life.

This could mean being passed up for a promotion because of a stutter, for example.

RELATED: Speech Therapy For Fluency Disorders (Stuttering)

Adults with speech disorders may also feel social isolation.

This can contribute to a range of mental health struggles like anxiety about work or social situations.

These struggles come from our base human need to connect being unfulfilled.

Often, adults with speech or language disorders as well as mental health struggles can become more complex cases due to childhood issues going unaddressed.

The problems with self-esteem may continue into adulthood, causing issues with their self-worth or even their identity in the world.

But all is not lost.

How Can Speech Disorders Affect Mental Health? | Voz Speech Therapy Services Bilingual Speech Therapist Clinic Washington DC

Can Speech Therapy Help Address Mental Health Concerns?

Speech therapists don’t work directly on mental health issues.

As well, speech therapy is not a substitute for psychotherapy, counselling, or any other mental health service.

Still, speech-language pathologists (SLPs) can help break down the communication barriers holding your healing journey back.

The improvement of communication skills itself can help relieve the stress and anxiety that comes with communication.

For example, when you stutter, you might feel anxious.

That anxiety can make your stutter worse, which can make your anxiety worse, and so on.

Your speech therapist will help you build coping mechanisms to disrupt that feedback loop.

If you’re dealing with mental health concerns linked to a speech or language disorder and need to take one thing from this speech therapy blog article, it’s this:

You aren’t alone.

This has likely touched many parts of your life, and you might struggle to be seen, to be you.

But there is a way forward.

Book Your Appointment With Voz Speech Therapy Today

Here at Voz Speech Therapy, our team of therapists is here to help.

Book your appointment with Voz Speech Therapy today.

Voz Speech Therapy
1331 H St NW Ste 200,
Washington, DC 20005

(202) 734-4884
- https://g.page/vozspeechtherapy

Voz Speech Therapy is a pediatric bilingual speech therapy clinic in Washington, DC that provides individualized services based on the specific needs of your or your child. Therapy sessions are provided in English or Spanish, depending on your child’s native language. Voz Speech Therapy es una clínica pediátrica bilingüe de terapia del habla en Washington, DC que brinda servicios individualizados según las necesidades específicas de usted o su hijo. Las sesiones de terapia se brindan en inglés o español, según el idioma nativo de su hijo.


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