Psychiatry and intellectual disabilities: navigating complexity and context

SCIE Social Care Online
Publication date:
01 January 2017


Purpose: The paper is a review, for the general adult mental health practitioner, of the issues to consider when managing a mental health presentation of a person with intellectual disability (PWID). The paper aims to discuss these issues. Design/methodology/approach: A neurodevelopmental model is outlined to assist practitioners in unravelling the wide range of potential factors relevant to intellectual disabilities (IDs). This includes an emphasis on complexity and interdisciplinary formulation within an individual’s context, and implications of the current policy changes. Findings: In practice, managing the mental health of PWID can be challenging within usual mainstream services; there is more to consider than is usual for the general population. Originality/value: The paper provides general mental health practitioners with a framework for a greater depth of understanding of the issues involved in the management of people with intellectual disability (ID). This includes discussion of the current policy context in ID, and some of its limitations.