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Completed 2017

MEASURING AND TREATING MENTAL HEALTH PROBLEMS IN CHILDREN AND ADULTS WITH SEVERE ID


People with severe learning disabilities (LD) have a high risk of developing mental health problems, yet they have long been neglected in practice and research developments. In our research we focus on two aspects of mental health in people with severe LD: assessment and treatment.

1. Assessment

One factor associated with the limited availability of high quality research into the mental health of people with severe LD is the lack of suitable screening and assessment tools. Ideally, assessments should take into account the communication difficulties of people with LD, and the reliability of behavioural observations and proxy reports. To gain a better understanding of what type of assessments are available for use with this population we conducted a systematic review. We aimed to identify all assessments of mental health and mental well-being that have been used with children and adults with severe LD and to evaluate their psychometric properties in terms of validity, reliability, and general suitability for use with this population.

This systematic review has been published in Clinical Psychology Review:- https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0272735817301368

Flynn, S., Vereenooghe, L., Hastings, R. P., Adams, D., Cooper, S. A., Gore, N., Hatton, C., Hood, K., Jahoda, A., Langdon, P. E., McNamara, R., Oliver, C., Roy, A., Totsika, V., & Waite, J. (2017). Measurement tools for mental health problems and mental well-being in people with severe or profound intellectual disabilities: A systematic review. Clinical Psychology Review, 57, 32-44. doi: 10.1016/j.cpr.2017.08.006

2. Treatment

In addition to the challenges associated with assessing mental health problems in people with severe LD, there is a lack of evidence to guide clinical practice for the prevention and treatment of mental health problems. Therefore, a second systematic review was conducted to identify studies that evaluated the efficacy of pharmacological and psychological interventions in treating mental health problems or improving mental well-being in children and adults with severe LD. The review aimed to critically appraise the quality of any such studies and will accumulate the available data to identify interventions with a strong evidence base and areas in need of further research.


This systematic review has been published as an Open Access article in BMJ Open:- https://bmjopen.bmj.com/content/8/6/e021911

Vereenooghe, L., Flynn, S., Hastings, R. P., Adams, D., Chauhan, U., Cooper, S. A., Gore, N., Hatton, C., Hood, K., Jahoda, A., Langdon, P. E., McNamara, R., Oliver, C., Roy, A., Totsika, V., & Waite, J. (2018). Interventions for mental health problems in children and adults with severe intellectual disabilities: A systematic review. BMJ Open, 8(6), e021911. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2018-021911