Making Links: A video exploring mental health issues in people with learning difficulties.

Pavilion Publishing,
The Ironworks,
East Sussex BN1 4GD


This video aims to explore mental health issues in people with
learning difficulties who live in the community. It is intended to
complement the training package, Mental Health in Learning
, which is also published by Pavilion Publishing,
but can be used alone.

It is aimed at support workers and carers for people with
learning difficulties, who have little or no understanding of the
impact that mental health problems can have on the people that they
are caring for. Mental health problems are often undetected in
people with learning difficulties, leaving them untreated, and open
to acquiring a number of additional labels in addition to their
learning difficulty such as challenging behaviour and communication

The video explains that support workers and carers have a key
role to play in detecting the first signs of mental ill-health,
enabling the individual to access appropriate services.

The training material is presented as the stories of three
people with learning difficulties who develop mental illness. After
each story a panel of support staff and mental health professionals
discuss the features of each individual’s behaviour which is
indicative of mental illness, and consider interventions. The
stories cover a lot of valid issues such as bereavement, loss, past
history, behaviour changes, risk, depression, psychosis and

I found that the presenter who chaired the panel of
professionals seemed keen for a diagnosis to be made after each
short story. Somewhat glib diagnoses are made within minutes, when
in reality a longer period of assessment and a more in-depth
knowledge of the person would be needed to make a diagnosis.
Notwithstanding these criticisms, this training video would be very
useful for a range of non-professional staff.

Suzanne Williams is an approved social worker with Derby
social services.

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