Two students participate in yoga with an instructor as a way to provide stress relief and improve mental health.
Brittany Powers, doctoral candidate in health behavior science and promotion, leads the MIND/MOVE Yourself Program, a six-week mind-body stress reduction program designed for college students with intellectual disabilities.

Relieving stress and supporting mental health

February 02, 2023 Written by Amy Cherry | Photo by

Pilot program aims to support mental health of college students with intellectual disabilities

Students with intellectual disabilities (ID) face unique challenges during the transition to independent living on a college campus. Issues of time management, navigating relationships and dealing with stigma are just some of the challenges they must confront.   

Brittany Powers first realized gaps in the system working in the health and wellness unit for individuals with disabilities across the lifespan at the University of Delaware’s Center for Disabilities Studies on campus. These gaps came to the forefront as the population of students with ID continues to rise across college campuses. 

“While they’re developing new certificate programs and independent living skills programs for students with intellectual disabilities to get the college experience and establish some career readiness, most colleges and universities aren’t quite equipped to support the mental health needs of those students,” Powers said. 

The lack of support in place for these students inspired Powers, a fourth-year health behavior science and promotion doctoral candidate in the Department of Behavioral Health and Nutrition in the College of Health Sciences, to work to ease that transition and empower students with ID.  

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