Access to psychological therapies for people with learning disabilities could be improved


This paper reports on the Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) programme which was established to treat people with mild to moderate depression and anxiety. Interestingly, although Positive Practice Guidance was published in 2009, there are currently no geographical areas listed as having a special interest in specifically rolling out psychological therapies to people with intellectual disabilities. The guidance identified a range of isues, including better understanding of the needs of people with learning disabilities and a variety of practical recommendations aimed at removing the barriers to access to psychological therapies. You can download the Positive Practice Guidance here. Issues related to whether current psychological therapies services can meet the needs of people with intellectual disabilities are considered, along with adaptations that would be needed to ensure the service is accessible and meets the specific needs of this group of people. Improving access to psychological therapies (IAPT): are they applicable to people with intellectual disabilities? Dodd K et al, in Advances in Mental Health and Intellectual Disabilities, 5, 2, 29-34

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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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