Janice Phillips Ward Manager of the Forensic Learning Disability Service, Chase Farm Hospital, Middlesex
Little is known about suicide and people with learning disabilities. Janice Phillips tackles the issues
Service provision for supporting of people with learning disabilities who are at risk of suicide, or who have attempted suicide must be one of the least explored issues in the field of learning disability. Most of the literature in relation to suicide and self-harm is written from a mental health or general perspective. This lack of national guidelines, research or critical exploration relating to the care and support of people with learning disabilities means that professionals have little help over such issues as consent and communication. This fact emerged when I and some colleagues attempted to address the needs of a detained person who was at risk of committing suicide. In addition to the usual problems of the lack of evidence to support practice and the lack of time professionals have to uncover relevant research, was the difficulty of assessing and treating people with learning disabilities who have psychiatric problems.
Learning Disability Practice. 4, 1, 18-24. doi: 10.7748/ldp2001.05.4.1.18.c1450