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Improving the mental health of people with intellectual disability

A set of resources is available for mental health professionals on delivering services to people with an intellectual disability.

The resources, funded by the NSW Ministry for Health and produced by the University of NSW, describes the specific skills and attributes required by mental health professionals to work with people with intellectual disability and outlines approaches to clinical practice.

Accompanying the manual is a toolkit, which includes a self-assessment tool to help professionals determine their current skill set and links to resources that support professional development in intellectual disability mental health.

The resources aim to increase the capacity of mental health services to meet the needs of people with an intellectual disability.

Service managers are also encouraged to use the documents to inform education and training plans, and staff recruitment.

Professor Trollor, UNSW’s chair in intellectual disability mental health, said meeting the mental health care needs of Australians living with an intellectual disability remained a huge challenge facing the mental health workforce.

“We still have some way to go in this area, but we expect the manual will help mental health professionals to assess and respond to the mental health needs of this vulnerable group, to a standard that meets community expectations,” Professor Trollor said.

“By equipping mental health staff with increased awareness, practical tools and a professional development framework, the manual aims to improve the quality of mental health service that a person with an intellectual disability receives.”

NSW Minister for Mental Health Pru Goward said the manual also outlined important issues from the perspective of people with an intellectual disability, their families and support networks.

Download the manual and toolkit here.

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