Leave Feedback

Interview With Dr. Francis Acquah

Interview With Dr. Francis Acquah

Dr. Francis Acquah is a Mental Health First Aid Instructor who works with people with disabilities, and people who have children with disabilities.

Francis has over 30 years experience as a Psychiatric Nurse across public and private health care settings. PMHP provides mental health support, counselling, psychosocial rehabilitation and reintegration into society.

1.We are witnessing many different reactions from people as a result of the current situation. Why do people react the way they do and what can they do to change?

People react because the current situation brings numerous unfavourable impacts to their lives, such as restrictions on their social life, fear of losing jobs, and the threat to their own and loved ones’ lives. Although it is part of human nature to adapt to problems where they find themselves in, they would continue to become vexed as long as there is no adamant solution up to date that would appease the dilemma. In this case, while all the experts around the world are doing their best to bring the the problem to its end, we can utilize our innate psychological mechanisms, which allow us to detect and defend ourselves against the threat. Such a system triggers a resilient cognitive, behavioural, and emotional response to prevent the possibility of contracting the pathogens. This response towards avoiding bug could motivate change within society.

2. You work primarily with people with disabilities and with people which have children with disabilities. Do you think that this situation will have a particular impact on the mental well-being of people with disabilities?

Yes, it has. Although one of the best ways to stop the spread is to self-isolate at home or physical contact with others, it can adversely put people with disability in distress. Asselt-Goverts and his colleagues highlight in their research that affection, which is attainable through people with disabilities’ connection and interaction to their social networks, contributes positive change to their wellbeing. However, the current situation seized such an opportunity to improve their quality of life, which is supposedly a vital source for their resilience. Consequently, when their abounding life demands overweigh their resources for coping during hard times, it germinates distress, which makes them experience different forms of mental health issues such as anxiety and depression.

3. What are the unique problems and challenges that people with a disability face in their current state?

The term disability has different types. It can be a physical or intellectual disability. Regardless of the nature, it is indubitable that disability prevents the person from doing certain activities necessary for his daily living, which can pose numerous problems and challenges. One of them is discrimination that leads to issues that intensify their disadvantaged situation. While some people with disability are eager to join the workforce to exercise their dignity and self-worth, the stigma regarding their capacity, limited opportunity, and the likelihood of getting underpaid disparage such desire. Thus, they do not get what non-disabled individuals get, which makes them continually marginalized.

4. How can family and parents help kids with special needs to get over this global situation?

It is crucial that children with special needs have an idea of what is currently happening globally. One of the underlying reasons for this is to make them feel that they are not alone, and others are also experiencing what they are going through. They also have to be aware that everyone is trying to stop the spread, and they can be a big help too. To make this possible, parents can teach them the necessity of protective measures. Educating their children some basic ways to stay healthy, such as washing their hands often, staying more home, and wearing masks when going out to the public could make them participate in stopping the spread.

Furthermore, the children can also be encouraged to be more open to their parents or caregivers, especially if they feel emotionally unwell so that it could be attended immediately. As social outings are currently impossible for them to enjoy, parents and carers can provide them home activities such as doing arts or playing games that suit their pace to give way for positive diversions. It is also necessary to keep a consistent schedule for their meals, medications, exercise, and bedtime.

5. What tips can you give to people with disabilities and to people who have children with disabilities?

Max Lucado’s beautiful words in his book ‘Outlive your life: you were made to make a difference’ is I believe relevant to this current global issue. He stated that “no one can do everything, but everyone can do something.” While all the experts around the globe are making an effort to stop the spread, each of us, regardless of profession, status and condition, can also do something in our little ways to save lives. People with disabilities can practice good hygiene, physical distancing, avoid public gatherings, and wear masks to protect themselves and others from getting affected. In case that some people with disabilities cannot wear masks due to their physical, medical or behavioural issues, with the help of their carers or family, they can consult their doctor to determine whether wearing a mask is safe or advisable.

6. Is there any way to help people with disabilities during this time? Can friends, colleagues and loved ones give some kind of support? If so, what would you recommend?

We know for a fact that people with disabilities have complex needs depending on their condition. While there are myriads of support available for them, I recommend the holistic approach to care provision. Stephanie Short from University of Sydney posited that a holistic approach to care provision of people with disabilities entails acknowledging the functional interdependence of their physical, psychological, and social needs. In strict sense, it focuses on the whole person, not just on his physical or mental disability. Hence, it is an essential approach to help improve their lives despite their condition. Although meeting their social needs have been impacted tremendously during this global issue, their families and friends can take advantage of the recent technological advancement. At least, they can provide them a social life by connecting to them through video calls or zoom meetings while staying at home.

7. Do you have some advice for people with special needs?

What I can advise to them is to stay safe and well. If they started feeling unwell or despondent of the current situation, inform their carers or family members immediately about it so that they will be provided with immediate and appropriate support. As public health advocates: prevention is better than cure. While health issues are treatable, the experts can manage them better if identified earlier on. It is also best for them to have regular check-ups with their doctors to assess their overall health and determine the risk factors that could have a detrimental impact on their health.

How Dc Health can help?

DC Health can help Australians with disabilities by providing service providers with the nessasary health products which will ensure all NDIS workers can get back to work safetly. Additionally a portion of our sales go Australians living with disabilities to help them get through these tough times.

This website is hosted securely, your info will not be distributed or shared with any third parties.