Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities National Training Center.

Do you or someone you know have an intellectual or developmental disability (e.g., Down Syndrome, Autism Spectrum Disorders, a chronic health condition, or a physical impairment)? What about a mental health condition (depression, anxiety, OCD, bipolar, schizophrenia, etc.)?  How many people do you know that experience both a developmental disability AND mental health issue?

 The combination of an intellectual or developmental disability with a mental health concerns, referred to as dual diagnosis, can be very difficult to identify, treat, and regulate symptoms. For someone who experiences a developmental disability, maintaining their mental health can be even more of a challenge than for others because symptoms manifest differently across individuals. Additionally, reduced stigma and a better understanding of mental health has led to more people being diagnosed and claiming their mental health diagnoses, but treatment, management, and support for individuals living with such conditions has not increased to meet this demand. There are clear disparities in access to treatment in poor and rural populations, and as discussed, in the population of people living with mental health concerns and intellectual and developmental disabilities.

 Not only is it a challenge for individuals who experience dual diagnosis to keep up with their mental well-being, but mental health professionals are not always equipped to assist these individuals with their unique experiences.  While these professionals have many resources in their tool belts for helping others achieve and maintain mental health, there is a lack of information to help them serve people who experience developmental disabilities and mental health concerns.

 The Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities National Training Center (MHDD-NTC) was established by the University Centers for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities (UCEDDs) in three states – Alaska, Kentucky, and Utah – in order to help with this problem across the United States.  The website we have created is a hub that brings together mental health professionals, individuals experiencing dual diagnosis, and their support networks to access resources, training’s, and information that will improve their awareness and understanding of mental health and intellectual and developmental disability.  Some of the resources that are available include:

  • Online training modules for medical and mental health providers to learn about the experiences of people with developmental disabilities and mental health concerns
  • Multimedia, social media, and blog posts sharing experiences of individuals with dual diagnosis, their families, medical and mental health professionals, and researchers
  • Webinar training’s for professionals and paraprofessionals learning to serve those with dual diagnosis
  • Resources specific for diverse cultural and rural populations
  • Continuing Education for medical and mental health providers
  • Educational outreach for training institutions
  • National needs assessment
  • Leadership Institute for staff members at UCEDDs

 We welcome you to connect with us at the MHDD-NTC to become educated and involved in making the world a brighter place for everyone!

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