Raghu Raghavan Lecturer in Learning Disability, School of Health Studies, University of Bradford
People with learning disabilities experience the same range of mental health problems as the general population yet there are few reliable ways of assessing their needs. Raghu Raghavan gives an overview of an assessment tool he devised to fill the gap
People with learning disabilities experience the same range of mental health disorders found in the general population. These include affective disorders such as depression and bipolar disorders, schizophrenia, personality disorder and dementia (Eaton and Menolascino 1982; Campbell and Malone 1991; Wilson 1997; Moss et al 1997). The literature available in this field also indicates a high prevalence rate of mental health disorders in people with learning disabilities based on various studies conducted in Scandinavia, UK and USA. These studies can be grouped under three main themes: studies based on hospital population (Ballinger et al 1991; Crews Jr et al 1994), studies based on referred samples to psychiatrists (Eaton and Menolascino 1982; Bouras and Drummond 1992) and studies based on random samples of people with learning disabilities (Lund 1985; Reiss 1990). The studies based on hospital population and referred samples to psychiatrists indicate a high prevalence rate (15 to 80 per cent), whereas the prevalence rate based on random samples of people with learning disabilities range from 27 to 40 per cent. This is in sharp contrast to a prevalence rate of 6 to 10 per cent in the general population.
Learning Disability Practice.
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