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Mental Health Services for Adults with Intellectual Disabilities – What Do Service Users and Staff Think of Them?




The current qualitative study was funded by the Judith Trust to investigate service users', support staff and community team members' views of the services currently provided to adults with intellectual disabilities and mental health problems and what they consider to be desirable qualities for staff to possess.


In the first stage of the study, two focus groups were conducted with service users who have intellectual disabilities and mental health problems in addition to two focus groups with a variety of staff, all of who had recent experience of intellectual disabilities services. In the second stage, individual interviews were conducted with staff members employed in residential and community intellectual disabilities services. The number of participants totalled 54 (16 service users and 38 staff). A qualitative analysis (IPA) was adopted to identify dominant themes in the discourse of these stakeholder groups.


The analysis produced a number of themes that include: ‘being interested’, ‘communication’, ‘competence-promoting support’, ‘past/present/future links’, ‘prevention’, ‘reviews and liaison’, ‘working with carers’, ‘looking after staff’, ‘staff training/supervision’ and ‘interface between services’.


A number of suggestions for improving services are identified and discussed in the context of current service policies and procedures.