Guidance needed on mental health

Doctors need guidance on how to refer people with learning
difficulties to appropriate mental health services, a GP urged this

Speaking at the Foundation for People with Learning Disabilities
conference on meeting the mental health needs of young people with
learning difficulties, 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 called on the Royal College of General Practitioners and the
Royal College of Psychiatrists to address the problem in GP
training and to train GPs in how to communicate more effectively
with people with learning difficulties.

“I feel strongly that the RCGP and the RCP need to give out a
strong statement on this, about what values GPs can work from,” he

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. “It is a national scandal.”

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 the Mental Health Needs of Young People with
Learning Disabilities” from 020 7802 0300.

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