Access to health information is a right for all people. Easy read information is one strategy used to make information accessible for people with intellectual disability. This research explored how easy read is used and the ways accessible information can address access barriers, with a focus on Australian mental health services.
Semi-structured interviews were conducted across four sites to explore how easy read was used. Participants (n = 49) were easy read users, health practitioners and staff from services providing mental health care in New South Wales, Australia. An integrated health literacy framework was used to analyse data.
Most mental health staff did not use easy read or other accessible information, and did not consistently offer people with intellectual disability opportunities to understand, appraise and apply health information. This investigation confirmed the limited availability of accessible information resources, including easy read, and the importance of relationships of support when accessing health information.
People with intellectual disability did not routinely have access to mental health information. Substantial change is required to address this disparity.
Agency policy and processes require change to support staff practices that uphold the right to information. Inclusive practices that incorporate using easy read in health contexts, including mental health, are needed to facilitate change.