There are more and more examples of mainstream mental health services supporting people with learning disabilities when they have mental health problems. The authors of this cross sectional study were keen to explore whether the attitudes of staff in mainstream mental health services towards people with learning disabilities was in any way negative and whether such attitudes, if they existed, impacted detrimentally on service provision.
They administered a questionnaire to 84 staff from both mainstream and specialist learning disability services designed to investigate attitudes.
What they found was that staff in both services experienced more positive emotions when they worked with clients they were currently employed to work with.
In their analysis of the findings, the researchers to into account the frequency of contact with adults with learning disabilities, the number of individuals worked with and the amount of formal training about learning disability received ad found that there was no significant difference between attitudes of staff in both services.
They also found there were positive correlations between attitude scores and positive emotional experiences in both services.
They conclude that their findings suggest numerous factors, (role of emotional experience; environmental aspect) should be considered when looking at the provision of mental health services to adults with learning disabilities to ensure quality.
Health professionals’ attitudes and emotions towards working with adults with intellectual disability (ID) and mental ill health, Rosen et al in Journal of Intellectual Disability Research, 56: 854–864