Written by PraxisAdmin

Praxis Care Conference highlights gaps in mental health services for individuals with intellectual disability and complex needs

Medical experts,  senior health leaders and academics from Ireland, Northern Ireland and the UK gathered for Praxis Care’s 5th Autumn Conference on 15 November. The event discussed the need for better mental health services for individuals with an intellectual disability, autism and complex needs.

The conference was opened by Minister for Disabilities, Finian McGrath TD and speakers on the day included:

  • Dr Fionnuala Kelly, the newly-appointed HSE National Clinical Lead of Mental Health Intellectual Disability
  • Dr Bhathika Perera of Harringey Mental Health Trust
  • Adam Harris, advocate and founder of the AsIAm Charity
  • Dr Christine Kennedy, Consultant Forensic Psychiatrist, NHS Belfast
  • Dr Anthony Kearns, Clinical Lead Forensic Health Services and Intellectual Disability, Central Mental Health Hospital
  • Mr Colin Smith, Consultant – Learning Disabilities, Autism, Mental Health & Behaviour Support
  • Prof. Gavin Davidson, Professor of Social Care, Queens University Belfast.

The Conference highlighted the fact that a person with an intellectual disability is two to three times more likely to develop a mental health problem than in the general population. 40% of all persons with an intellectual disability in Ireland will therefore experience a mental illness within their lifetime. Despite this significant service gap being identified as far back as 2006, it has never been addressed with poor levels of integration occurring between the disability and mental health services within the HSE.

Highlights from the conference can be viewed by clicking on the link below:

Presentations from the conference are available here:

Colin Smith – Creative Solutions for People with Intellectual Disability

Dr Bhathika Perera – Mental health services for people with intellectual disability in the UK

Gavin Davidson – The Role of Research in Praxis Care




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