Authors: Jenny Cardno and Sandy Smith, NEW ZEALAND
Event: 2012 TheMHS Conference
Subject: CONSUMERS, SERVICE-USER, Community-based care
Type of resource: Conference Presentations and Papers
Abstract: The closure of Psychopaedic and Mental Health Institutions has bought about issues of citizenship rights for those with serious mental health problems and disorders. They are now live in the community, often in communal housing along with careers/family. Unfortunately living in the community does not automatically make them part of the community. Acceptance by society is a long slow process. People with an Intellectual disability and (especially those with mental health or behavioural issues) are often isolated from community activities and services. Disabled people themselves, their families and advocates have had to fight, and continue to do so for their human rights to participate in citizenship with any community. It has been said that buildings do not make institutions; it is a person’s mind that creates an institution. Since the disestablishment of large institutions there has been a recognition that specialist agencies need to be involved to assess and clinically be involved to advocate for treatment. It is to be remembered that people with an intellectual disability experience the same range of emotional and mental needs as the general population and when placed in residential care they are expected to establish a satisfactory living pattern for themselves or those they live with, in the community with limited or diminishing support. Some of the issues include diagnostic overshadowing, suitable respite care, specialists qualified to teach and practice within the field and funding issues that often excludes this population due to the very nature of their diagnoses. The development of the specialist mental health service we work for is designed to focus on the mental health needs of those with a mental illness for those with a moderate to severe ID in the adult population. The service has been developed as a consult liaison service that aims to promote an individual’s recovery. We work with the individual, their families and carers. We are available to government and private agencies as well as G.P’s and other health professionals. We provide advice on suggested treatment options and planning for care. Our goal is for the individual to remain in the community and be integrated into local services. This sits with the principal of community integration and is about reducing the social stigma within services that we often see towards the ID population.