The Mental Health Effects of Speech Disorders

Date: 1st February 2022

Dr. Harshi is a licensed medical doctor with a specialization in Pathology. She is currently employed as faculty in a medical school with tertiary care hospital and research center in India. She has vast experience of over a decade in diagnostic, clinical, research, and teaching work. She has a strong interest in medical content writing and reviewing. She also has several publications and citations in indexed peer-reviewed journals.

Achieving success in the pressure cooker world of COVID-19 makes stress management essential. Stress management strategies and coping mechanisms can not only help people deal with the pressures of today but also prevent potential mental health issues that may arise.

A person’s ability to communicate clearly with others is an important factor in almost every aspect of life. Substance abuse experts are becoming more aware of the fact that impaired speech and hearing can lead to mental disorders that can result in addiction. Medical practitioners have long known that clear communication with the elderly and patients in need of treatment is essential.

Studies show that nearly half of all children and teenagers that are advised to receive mental health services have underlying communication problems. Despite this, the connection between speech and mental health is too often overlooked.

Speech Therapy: A Surprise Solution

Clinical experience and research continue to confirm that mental health is affected by communication, speech, and language skills. Without speech therapy, many people may not be able to solve their mental health problems.

Many of the techniques a therapist uses depend on the ability to communicate thoughts and feelings and express them. The ability to communicate in higher-order languages is not possible for those with communication difficulties and those who do not have the speech therapy needed to correct them.

Problems Can Snowball Without the Right “Fix”

Communication skills are essential for building and maintaining healthy relationships,  understanding emotions and concepts, and problem-solving and self-expression.

It is possible for social discourse and interpersonal interactions to become a problem. People with communication problems are often burdened by a heavy load that can lead to isolation and loneliness.

Issues that are Often Attributed to Speech Disorders

Low empathy

Empathy means putting yourself in another’s shoes and understanding their feelings. This understanding is essential for effective communication and strong relationships. It is essential for others to feel understood.

Lack of Assertiveness

Many people with low self-esteem, often due to underlying physical, emotional, and mental deficiencies, find it difficult to express their needs. Instead, it’s quite common for people to:

  • Avoid problems
  • Act passively or with passive aggression
  • Resort to aggressive communication

Emotional Reactivity

In the heat of an argument, it is easy to get caught up in negative, strong emotions. This emotional state can cause us to react negatively to others and make them feel unhelpful or upset. This can cause further relationship problems. 

Lack of Flexibility

We all learn and communicate differently. If we don’t adapt our communication to our audience, our message could be misunderstood. If we speak in complex language to children, they will be less likely to understand.


As we communicate more via text, it is easy to make mistakes about what’s being said. Our minds race ahead, but we don’t listen, read, or understand the message.

Not Listening Actively

Active listening is giving your full attention to the words and responding to them to show that you are listening and understanding. People feel irritated if they lose focus, are distracted or interrupt their conversations. We run the risk that we miss details or don’t understand their message.

Common Communication Issues

Communication problems are common and often accompany problems at work, home, or school.

One study showed that 45% of children who were referred for services because they had a mental illness also had communication or language difficulties. Communication problems that are present early in life can last into adulthood. A US study showed that 22% of seniors 65 or older had communication problems. This was due to:

  • A smaller social network
  • Fewer positive social exchanges
  • Less frequent participation in social events

These factors increase the likelihood of having mental health problems. That’s why speech therapy is so important.



Globalteletherapy.comCan Speech Therapy Prevent Mental Health Problems?

Ncbi.nlm.nih.gov – Social, Emotional, and Academic Impact of Residual Speech Errors in School-Age Children: A Survey Study

Ncbi.nlm.nih.govHigher order language competence and adolescent mental health

Ncbi.nlm.nih.gov – How Does Difficulty Communicating Affect the Social Relationships of Older Adults? An Exploration Using Data from a National Survey


Photo by Tim Chow on Unsplash


Interested in becoming a member?

ASLTIP’s membership has been growing rapidly since 1989. We are a support organisation run by our members. The executive board is always grateful for new members and new ideas.

Apply for a membership
shape wrap