Doctors need clearer guidance on how to refer people with
learning difficulties to appropriate mental health services, a GP
expert has urged.
Learning difficulty specialist Dr Iain White said: “We need
clearer regional pathways for GPs to follow when presented with
young adults with learning disabilities who may have mental health
He was speaking at the Foundation for People with Learning
Disabilities conference on meeting the mental health needs of young
people with learning difficulties.
Dr White called on the Royal College of General Practitioners
and the Royal College of Psychiatrists to address the problem in GP
training and to educate GPs in how to communicate more effectively
with people with learning difficulties.
Lancaster University professor of clinical psychology Eric
Emerson echoed calls for more services for this group of young
people and their families. “We can’t afford to keep turning
our backs on them as we have done for decades,” Emerson warned.
The conference was held to mark the publication of the
foundation’s new report, based on its year- long inquiry into
the mental health needs of young people with learning difficulties.
It finds that one in four young people with a learning difficulty
also has a mental health problem, and substantial numbers have
problems in accessing appropriate mental health services.
‘Count Us In: Meeting then Mental Health Needs of Young People
with Learning Disabilities’ from 020 7802 0300