Exploring mental health issues in people with an intellectual disability
CPD    

Exploring mental health issues in people with an intellectual disability

Fintan Sheerin Head of intellectual disability nursing, School of Nursing and Midwifery, Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland
Sandra Fleming Assistant professor in intellectual disabilities nursing, Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland
Eilish Burke Ussher assistant professor in intellectual disabilities nursing, Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland
Kathleen Byrne Clinical tutor in intellectual disability nursing, Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland
Michelle Cleary Nurse educator, Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland
Carmel Doyle Assistant professor in intellectual disability nursing, Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland
Paul Keenan Assistant professor in intellectual disability nursing, Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland

Why you should read this article
  • Mental health concerns in people with intellectual disabilities can be difficult to identify due to various factors, including the person’s physical health, behaviour and cognition, and formal and informal carers’ skill deficits and attitudes

  • Knowledgeable and skilled health professionals must be present in the daily lives of people with an intellectual disability to identify and explore emerging mental health issues, make referrals, implement interventions and monitor outcomes

  • Registered intellectual disability nurses play a vital role in ensuring that the mental health of people with an intellectual disability is addressed and maximised

Mental health concerns are prevalent in regard to those with intellectual disability. There are many reasons for this, some of which may relate to the causation of the person’s intellectual impairment. Other extraneous factors, such as the number of significant life events, may also result in compromised mental health. For many people, however, mental health problems may go untreated, which may relate to difficulties in diagnosis or in ascribing the signs and symptoms to other causes. With increasing numbers of people with an intellectual disability making use of regular community health services, and the reported unfavourable nature of such services, mental health problems may not be addressed. Registered intellectual disability nurses have a crucial role to play in ensuring that the mental health concerns of people with an intellectual disability are identified and addressed in an expeditious manner to achieve maximum well-being.

This article explores such mental health concerns and, drawing on a brief case study, describes the role of nurses.

Learning Disability Practice. doi: 10.7748/ldp.2019.e1999

Peer review

This article has been subject to external double-blind peer review and has been checked for plagiarism using automated software

Correspondence

sheerinf@tcd.ie

Conflict of interest

None declared

Sheerin F, Fleming S, Burke E et al (2019) Exploring mental health issues in people with an intellectual disability. Learning Disability Practice. doi: 10.7748/ldp.2019.e1999

Published online: 14 November 2019