Congenital heart disease is not just about the heart. CHD has a real impact on all aspects of life and health. Mental health issues are extremely common within the CHD community and one of the most difficult things patients and families manage. Despite the prevalence of CHD and mental health challenges, these issues are underrecognized and undertreated.
Mental Health Matters provides education, resources, and support for all patients and their families, and advocates for the inclusion of mental health in all CHD care and research programs.
The Science Linking CHD & Mental Health
Psychological Aspects of Living with Congenital Heart Disease
This resource offers an easy-to-read summary of a recent scientific statement about mental health and CHD, describes common challenges, highlights strengths often seen in people with CHD, and explores how to get needed support.
Promoting Mental Health for Parents of Children with Heart Conditions
In order to take care of your child, you need to take care of yourself. Learn what is normal, when to get help and how.
Psychological Outcomes and Interventions for Individuals With Congenital Heart Disease
A Scientific Statement From the American Heart Association
Mental Health 101
Definitions and Descriptions
A helpful and informative “Mental Health 101” guide for you to learn more and reference as needed.
Centers for Disease Control
Information related to mental health from the CDC.
National Alliance on Mental Illness
Information related to mental health from NAMI.
There are many different options for treatment and support available. There is no treatment that works for everyone, so it's important that you chose the treatment, or combination of treatments, that work best for you or your loved one.
Types of Mental Health Professionals
There are many types of mental health professionals available to help. Where you seek help will depend on who is experiencing the symptoms (an adult or a child) and the symptoms they are experiencing.
Mental Health Toolbox
Resources for Children & Teens
Downloadable patient education handouts and workbooks created to help children and teens cope with injury, illness, and medical treatment.
Resources for Parents
These workbooks help parents/caregivers help their child (and themselves) cope with a child's hospitalization.
Toolkit: Managing Stress
This resource, developed by NHS University Hospitals Bristol, offers tips to manage the stress that can accompany chronic illness. With consent, the format has been modified.
Toolkit: Managing Anxiety
This resource, developed by NHS University Hospitals Bristol, offers tips to manage the anxiety that can accompany chronic illness. With consent, the format has been modified.
Toolkit: Managing Depression
This resource, developed by NHS University Hospitals Bristol, offers tips to manage the depression that can accompany chronic illness. With consent, the format has been modified.
Mental Health Related Apps
Check out this list of apps related to mental health for options to help focus breathing and mindfulness.
Tools for Maintaining Your Mental Health
These tools can play an important role in maintaining positive mental health and support mental health treatment and recovery if you have a mental health condition.
Recognizing Warning Signs
Like any physical condition, the signs and symptoms of mental health conditions may vary based on the specific condition and the individual. These symptoms may be signs you or a loved one should speak to a mental health professional.
Grounding is a technique you can use to pull away from flashbacks, unwanted memories, or negative/challenging feelings. It can help distract you and refocus on the present.
In-The-Moment Coping Skills
Try these tips when you’re stressed, anxious, mad, hurt, upset, or need a break.
Patient & Family Stories
To the Amazing Community I Never Wanted to Be a Part Of
It may feel like you’re the only one experiencing the mental health impacts of CHD, but as this open letter to the CHD community from a parent of a patient with CHD shows, you’re not.
Mental Health, CHD, and Loss
Jenn Hinkle shares how the love and support her family received when they lost her son was exactly what their family needed to share with others continuing on a similar journey.
Amy's Story (VIDEO)
Adult patient, Amy, discusses her experience with mental health issues and the impact CHD has had on hers as part of our ACHD Video Series.
Living with PTSD
Brittany Foster, born with a VSD as well as other conditions, shares her experience with the illness, and how it has affected her life and her perspective.
Beyond Survival, The Struggle with Anxiety and Depression
Sydney Taylor, Nurse and Conquering CHD Volunteer, discusses contributing factors and prevalence of Anxiety and Depression in patients and parents affected by Congenital Heart Disease.
Courtney's Story: A Mom's Perspective
Courtney Gallo shares with us how her experiences as Heart Mom to son Sully impacted her mental health.
Redefining "Of Course"
Christina shares her experience as a patient with us, highlighting the important role talking about mental health plays in destroying the stigma.
Catherine shares her story of learning to cope with a late CHD diagnosis, a difficult course of treatment and all the way in which it impacted her life an mental health.
Mental Health Support is Necessary Part of CHD Care – Dr. Erica Sood
In this edition of our CHD Beat highlight series, we introduce you to Dr. Erica Sood, a cardiac psychologist in Delaware, who shares how she got started in medicine, how she connects to patients with CHD and their families, and her vision for the future of mental health support for CHD patients and families.
Q&A with Austin Wilmot, MSW, LCSW
Child and adult psychotherapist and CHD Patient, Austin Wilmot, helps demystify mental illness as he answers questions often associated with those affected by CHD.
9-8-8 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline
If you or someone you know is in crisis now, get help immediately by calling a 24-hour crisis center at 988 or if it’s an emergency, dial 911.
Crisis Text Line
In crisis and need to talk to someone? Text HOME to 741741 to reach a volunteer Crisis Counselor.
Find a Psychologist
The Psychologist Locator is an official product of the American Psychological Association created to help you find the right psychologist for you.
Find a CHD-Neuro Program
Find a cardiac neurodevelopmental follow-up program near you to provide comprehensive clinical and developmental evaluations and ongoing coordinated care to support children with complex heart defects from infancy and beyond.
Free Mental Health Services for Heart Families through the Ollie Hinkle Foundation
Conquering CHD Stories
Barrett Lloyd Chenevert was born just hours after his due date in July 2014 and his parents had no idea that anything was out of the ordinary. Their pregnancy was fairly typical with two normal ultrasounds and no other significant issues. After long and exhaustive labor that started with a two-hour car ride to the...Full Story>