Mental health needs

Diagnostic overshadowing of mental illness in people with mental retardation was previously common, but there is now increasing awareness and assessment of psychiatric disorders, and acceptance of dual diagnosis among people with mental retardation. (12>

Although mental health needs can in some cases be met by general mental health services, some specialized mental health provision is still necessary to meet the needs of people with dual diagnosis, including those who also have challenging behaviour. (12> Specific behavioural phenotypes are associated with some syndromes.(l3> Interventions are being developed which recognize the specialized needs of these groups, and for people with autism. (14>

Until recently, people with mental retardation were seldom thought to suffer from depression, although research shows that adolescents with mental retardation report more depression and other symptoms of psychopathology than others without mental retardation, and this relates to intellectual and adaptive functioning. (15)

There is also increasing awareness of the high prevalence of abuse in people with mental retardation of all ages, including emotional, physical, and sexual abuse, with post-traumatic stress disorder occurring as a result. (!6,.!Z)

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