Mental Health and Accessing Health Care with Dr. Yona Lunsky

Show Notes 


In our first episode, host Niko Pupella from the Council of Community Living Ontario interviews Dr. Yona Lunsky. Dr. Lunsky is Director of the Azrieli Adult Neurodevelopmental Centre and Director of the Health Care Access Research and Developmental Disabilities Program at CAMH. Her research focuses on the mental health needs of people who have an intellectual disability and their families. 

In this conversation with Dr. Lunsky, we discuss how the pandemic has affected people’s mental health, the importance of practicing mindfulness, barriers to accessing health care for people who have a disability, and more. 

*Note: This episode was recorded in 2022. Some details may no longer be up-to-date.


Production: Nicholas Wong

Hosting: Niko Pupella

Audio Editing and Music: Helena Krobath

Guest: Dr. Yona Lunsky


Azrieli Adult Neurodevelopmental Centre

The first research and education centre in Canada dedicated to improving care for adults with neurodevelopmental disabilities and mental health challenges. 

Health Care Access Research and Developmental Disabilities Program (H-CARDD)

The H-CARDD program was developed to monitor and improve the health and health care of people with developmental disabilities through engagement with researchers, policy makers, health care planners, clinicians, adults with developmental disabilities, and caregivers. 

How to stay safe, well and connected

A page of resources on managing stress and mental health, learning about COVID-19, and communicating your health care needs (Note: Some information on this page may no longer be up-to-date.) 

Health Care Resources

Here you will find more tools and information for people with developmental disabilities and caregivers, as well as clinicians and service providers. These tools can help communicating important information in a health care setting. They also include information about health and developmental disabilities, and provide best practice tips for health care providers. 

About My Health

This is a worksheet for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities to fill out and share with health care providers to make the health care visit a success. It asks about likes and dislikes, communication strategies and other helpful pointers. We recommend people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and caregivers update this any time there is a significant change, or when meeting a new healthcare provider for example at the Emergency Department or at a visit to a specialist.

My Health Care Visit

This tool is for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities to complete with health care providers to foster understanding of the purpose, and outcome of today’s health care visit. This could ideally serve as documentation of a health care visit for the person’s record, if needed.

Mindfulness for YOU

A series of videos on mindfulness for neurodivergent and autistic adults that shows some creative ways that they can practice mindfulness in a way that aims to meet their needs. 

IDD: Get to know me

A mental health podcast where nothing is off the table. Join self advocate and hosts, Victor Pereira and Daniel Share-Strom as they explore topics and how they relate to individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. 

988 Suicide Crisis Helpline

Canada's new 988 hotline gives people access to suicide prevention services via call or text. People in every province and territory who are experiencing a mental health crisis and need immediate, real-time support can use the three-digit number to get a quick response from coast to coast, 24/7 and free of charge.


View the episode transcript below, or by following this link.