Impact on families caring for people with learning disabilities and mental health problems poorly understood review suggests

family on beach

Estimates of the numbers of people with learning disabilities who have co-morbid mental health problems vary considerably between studies, from 14 to 39%.

This review of literature focused on families of individuals diagnosed with both learning disability and co-morbid mental health problems. The author looked at the impact of caring such individuals on things like family well-being, the general impact on the family, and the nature of the interventions required from professionals and overall support needs of such families.

The author concludes that there remains a clear need for additional research in this area and for work to educate families of individuals with learning disabilities and co-morbid mental health problems and she makes a number of recommendations relating to directions fo future research.

Families of Individuals With Intellectual Disability and Comorbid Mental Health Problems, Esbensen A, in Journal of Mental Health Research in Intellectual Disabilities, 4, 3, 140-157

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John Northfield

After qualifying as a social worker, John worked in community learning disability teams before getting involved in a number of long-stay hospital closure programmes, working to develop individual plans for people moving into their own homes. He worked for BILD, helping to develop the Quality Network and was editorial lead for the NHS electronic library learning disabilities specialist collection. This led him to found the Learning Disabilities Elf site with Andre Tomlin as a way of making the evidence accessible to practitioners in health and social care. Most recently he has worked as part of Mencap's national quality team and also been involved in a number of national website developments, including the General Medical Council's learning disabilities site.

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