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Mental Health

Guideline:

The organization helps people with disabilities to gain timely access to mental health services, where appropriate. People receive enhanced support at times of acute distress in a manner that takes account of their particular needs and preferences.

People are encouraged to express their feelings and are helped by the organization to deal with issues that impact their emotional wellbeing.

What does this look like?

The organization strives to create and maintain environments that are positive, healthy and supportive. Staff work to build trusting relationships with people.

The organization is committed to supporting and advocating for high quality mental health supports for people served.

  • The organization is aware of and acknowledges that people with an intellectual disability are much more likely than other members of the population to experience depression, anxiety and other mental illness.
  • Despite knowledge of the prevalence of mental illness amongst people with intellectual disability, signs of mental illness are often missed.
  • People with intellectual disability may have reduced capacity to participate in standard clinical assessment processes, which can make diagnosis very difficult and result in limited access to appropriate mental health care.
  • If a person is displaying unusual behaviour that is causing them distress, the organization supports them to be assessed by relevant mental health professionals.
  • Once a mental illness is recognized, clinicians may face challenges in determining the most appropriate treatment and carrying out the treatment. The organization has an important role in supporting the person to follow through on treatment recommendations and monitoring and documenting results.

The organization assesses and documents support that people require to maintain good mental health, strategies and treatment for episodic or chronic mental health concerns and planned emergency interventions in the event of acute concerns. Staff are trained and informed about each person’s mental health support needs.

Staff have an awareness of what good mental health looks like for each individual and will develop strategies to support good mental wellbeing. They are trained to recognize, report and provide urgent support when people are struggling with poor mental health.

How would you know this is happening? (Evidence)

What you see in systems:

Support plans contain information and strategies for supporting mental health conditions.

What you see in actions:

People report that they are supported to access required mental health support and services.  They experience staff as supportive, positive and calming.

Staff are competent and confident in their ability to support the unique mental health needs of each person or are aware when and how to obtain professional assistance.

Resources to support achieving guideline:

Mental Health Resources for People with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities – Surrey Place

Related Guidelines:

Health Care Support

Positive Behaviour Support

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