Yes I Can: A Mental Health Guide for Adult Literacy Facilitators

This guide for adult education facilitators provides information and strategies for supporting adult learners living with mental health conditions or disorders.

Jennifer E. Hewitt
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This guide for adult education facilitators provides information and strategies for supporting adult learners living with mental health conditions or disorders.

Chapters 1 - 5 contain an overview of concepts and general suggestions for supporting learners living with mental health issues. To get the most from this guide, it is suggested that users read chapters 1 - 5 first.

Chapters 6 - 16 present information on specific conditions and disorders, and strategies for supporting learners living with these specific issues. Because some learning needs will be similar across multiple disorders, some information and strategies will be repeated in more than one chapter. These chapters, and the strategies they contain, are listed separately in the Table of Contents so that facilitators can look up a specific issue and use only the relevant materials.

Chapters 17 – 18 include resources and handouts for learners. Instructors will find the handout topics listed in the Table of Contents. Links to the handouts that correspond with learning strategies are also included in the learning strategy charts, where applicable.

What the experts say

Yes I Can provides facts and information about mental health disorders along with the symptoms, causes, risk factors, diagnosis, treatment, and things to observe. It was developed to inform adult educators about mental health disorders and how they present special and unique challenges for adult learners. It is a useful resource for adult educators who are curious for background information, or would like practical tips on working with adult learners who have mental health conditions. Users should read the “How to Use This Guide” section to orient themselves to how each chapter is structured.

Some adult educators may need to be reminded that the term “mental health” is used broadly, as is used for the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM), hence, conditions such as ADHD and LD are included. Note that the chapter on autism spectrum disorders is not up to date on the new labeling system adopted for the DSM-5 (which eliminates “Asperger syndrome” and “PDD-NOS”, etc. as unique labels for some). Also, the tips on making use of learners’ learning styles” could more clearly remind adult educators that the science on learning styles warns against analyzing for learning styles and teaching only to such identified strengths. In general, the Tips sections can be used to augment effective practices that adult educators may already know. Users should also remember to check local policies when they read advice such as to encourage individuals to disclose their “mental health” conditions.

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