Mental Health Impact Report
WFCPC Mental Health Program Brings Psychiatry and Wellness Support to More Families
In 2023, the Weinberg Family Cerebral Palsy Center (WFCPC) expanded its care offerings to include psychiatric support through the appointment of psychiatrist Jessica Dodge, MD. Complemented by mental health offerings in therapy and support group services provided by Minnelly Vasquez, LCSW, the WFCPC offers a fully featured mental health program integrating physical and mental health.
The CP Research Network (CPRN) suggests that in an ideal setting, a multidisciplinary team should regularly assess the psychological wellbeing of an individual with CP and refer them to a mental health provider for diagnose and treatment when appropriate. Among the large CP centers in the United States which reviewed their programs with the CPRN, the WFCPC is the only center with full-time mental health providers working in a multidisciplinary setting.
Cerebral Palsy is caused by an injury to the brain, which makes the brain more vulnerable to emotional or behavioral difficulties. Mental health conditions in individuals with cerebral palsy occur more frequently than in the general population. There is an increased risk of psychiatric disorders when a severe motor impairment is present. Mental distress is also associated with poor physical health, chronic disease, increased use of health services, and limitations in daily life. The most common mental health conditions in cerebral palsy include depression and anxiety.
Accessing mental health treatment allows people with cerebral palsy to live their healthiest lives. With early detection and treatment, an individual’s overall health and wellbeing, and that of the family, can greatly improve. WFCPC patients have appreciated treatment that incorporates an understanding of the complexities of CP. Patients have shared that support groups and mentorship have been particularly helpful to foster self-growth.
The above infographic highlights the support offered by our mental health team in 2023. Learn more about our mental health program.
Whitney, Daniel G., et al. "Prevalence of Mental Health Disorders Among Adults with Cerebral Palsy: A Cross-Sectional Analysis" Annals of Internal Medicine. DOI: 10.7326/M18-3420
Jane McMahon, Adrienne Harvey, Susan M Reid, Tamara May, Giuliana Antolovich, "Anxiety in children and adolescents with cerebral palsy" Journal of Paediatrics and Child Health