What is it about?

Having a stroke and aphasia places people at a high risk for depression and anxiety. Despite the high risk, few people with aphasia have access to mental health services. Through interviews, we explored the views of 6 mental health providers who serviced people with aphasia. Analysis revealed three themes. 1) Barriers such as limited training, awareness of aphasia, and limited available services. 2) Collaboration between speech-language pathologists (SLPs) and mental health providers resulted in increased client referrals, increased aphasia awareness and more strategies to support communication. 3) ‘Therapy looks different’ related to interacting with clients in a non-traditional way, such as asking yes/no vs. open-ended questions or using pictures to support communication.

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Why is it important?

Depression and anxiety can negatively impact rehabilitation outcomes and quality of life. Mental health providers’ experiences reveal the need for an action-oriented approach to overcome barriers, a non-traditional approach to talk therapy for people with aphasia, and increased collaboration with SLPs.

Perspectives

We hope this article helps our colleagues in speech-language pathology and mental health professions recognize that together we are stronger in supporting people with aphasia and that interdisciplinary collaboration is necessary to address depression and anxiety caused by stroke and aphasia.

Katie Strong
Central Michigan University

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This page is a summary of: How Do You Do Talk Therapy With Someone Who Can't Talk? Perspectives From Mental Health Providers on Delivering Services to Individuals With Aphasia, American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, November 2021, American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA), DOI: 10.1044/2021_ajslp-21-00040.
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