MRes studentship in Youth Mental Health Theme
People with learning disabilities (LD) have higher physical and mental health needs but these needs can often go unmet resulting in poorer health than those without an LD. In addition, people with rare genetic syndromes associated with LD (e.g. fragile X syndrome, Prader-Willi syndrome) are at even higher risk of some health conditions. For example, clinical levels of anxiety occur in 82.5% of people with fragile X syndrome (Cordeiro et al., 2011) and congenital heart defects occur in 50% of people with Down’s syndrome (Freeman et al., 1998). Health inequalities for people with LD in the UK largely result from barriers in accessing timely and effective health care.
Annual health checks for people with LD aged 14 and above were introduced to reduce health inequalities in this population and provide timely identification of unmet physical and mental health needs. However, recent NHS Digital Data suggest that uptake is less than 50%. Research is needed to understand the barriers to the effective healthcare for people with LD.
This project will investigate physical and mental health in people with idiopathic intellectual disability and those with rare genetic syndromes. It will also explore ways to reduce health inequalities for this population by improving the quality and uptake of Annual Health Checks for people with learning disabilities through the development of an integrated care model between primary care, secondary care, and schools.
This studentship is funded by the NIHR Applied Research Centre West Midlands (ARC WM). ARC WM is a five-year initiative commencing in October 2019 with a mission to create lasting and effective collaborations across health and social care organisations, universities (Birmingham, Keele, Warwick) and local authorities to improve the services we can deliver for patient benefit.