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Mental health and wellbeing with aphasia.

Aphasia can impact all areas of life, including:

  • conversation,
  • relationships,
  • roles and identity,
  • working,
  • studying, and
  • hobbies.

Because of this, people with aphasia have changes in their mental health, mood and wellbeing.

It is common for people with aphasia to have a range of psychological changes including feeling:

  • frustrated,
  • sad,
  • scared,
  • worried,
  • angry, or
  • overwhelmed.

Many people also report feelings of loss, grief, negativity, distress, and of depression and anxiety.

Family members and friends may also experience similar feelings.


You are not alone if you have these feelings!

For example, up to 70% of stroke survivors with aphasia can have symptoms of depression in the first year after stroke.

Signs of that you are experiencing changes in your mood or wellbeing can include:

  • low mood that lasts for a long time,
  • avoiding social activities,
  • feeling tense
  • feeling worried or anxious,
  • repetitive negative thoughts,
  • problems with sleep, and
  • problems with appetite (the feeling that you want to eat food).

Psychological care after aphasia is important.

Psychological wellbeing means:

  • feeling connected with family and friends,
  • feeling positive,
  • doing activities you enjoy and value, and
  • doing activities that are relaxing and creative.

Without help, difficult emotions can linger and get worse without help.


There are many things that can help with psychological wellbeing.

Setting personal goals and celebrating your progress and achievements.

Meeting other people with aphasia. This allows you to hear different perspectives, share stories and tips, and find solutions to problems. There are many community aphasia groups that meet both online and in your community.

Staying in touch and seeing family and friends.

Doing things you enjoy. This may be things like listening to music, cooking, or being outdoors.

Doing things that are important to you.

Staying physically active. This may be going for a walk, stretching, or other exercise.

Eating a healthy diet, and drinking enough water.

Making time to rest and sleep.

Practicing relaxation and meditation.

Researchers are also working to develop aphasia-friendly psychological therapies, like relaxation therapy, and problem solving therapy.

There are resources that can help families and friends too, such as:

If mental health problems affect your daily life, it’s important to seek help early. Feelings of hopelessness, and despair are of particular concern.

A doctor or a psychologist can help. You can discuss treatments and you may be eligible for a mental health care treatment plan. This plan helps with the cost of psychology sessions (up to 10 each year).

If you need urgent help please contact a crisis service such as Beyond Blue, Lifeline, or call 000.


Aphasia can make it difficult to explain your feelings to others.

Your speech pathologist can help you with communication strategies. They can also speak to your doctor or psychologist, if you give permission.

If you like, someone can go with you to see your doctor or psychologist, and support you and your communication.

It may help to take some aphasia information to your appointment.


If you are having difficulties with your mood and wellbeing,
please talk to someone!


Content contributed by Dr. Jasvinder Sekhon, Dr. Caroline Baker, Rebecca El-Helou, Dr. Brooke Ryan, Kathryn Pettigrove, Dr. Ciara Shiggins, and Professor Ian Kneebone



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