A Message From Our CEO
IDD Awareness Month wrapped up in March and May is Mental Health Awareness Month, making April the perfect time to consider the convergence of intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) and mental illness. This issue has received increasing attention in recent years and needs further investigation.
Individuals living with an intellectual or developmental disability are at higher risk for mental illness. It is estimated that 30-35% of the population has a dual diagnosis. While this is not a new phenomenon, it is becoming more apparent as individuals with IDD are moving from institutions into the community to live with greater independence.
While more study is needed on this issue, it is purported that issues such as social isolation, stigmatization and exclusion from culturally valued activities, such as work, combine with existing brain disorders to create a higher risk for mental illness. Historically, the issue of co-occurring mental illness has been overlooked and under treated. For individuals with limited ability to communicate verbally, it is difficult to convey what they are experiencing. And clinicians with limited information or training are thought to attribute symptoms and behaviors to the IDD diagnosis, missing the mental illness all together.
Individuals with dual diagnosis need access to treatments including psychopharmacology, behavior management and counseling, as well as access to services such as crisis and residential treatment to improve quality of life and health outcomes. Individuals who work with individuals living with IDD need cross training in order to recognize psychiatric symptoms and refer for appropriate treatment. Families and caregivers also need education and resources to offer appropriate response and support. Lastly, more research on this issue is needed to continue to understand the needs and develop evidence based practices.
Integral Care provides a variety of IDD services that help build well-being. Through custom case management and service coordination, individuals with IDD can get the support they and their families need.
Together, we can achieve our vision of healthy living for everyone.
Chief Executive Officer
IDD Crisis Services
A dual diagnosis of IDD and mental health issues can cause interference with daily activities and create difficulties with family and peer relationships and residential placements.
Integral Care's Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Crisis Services support people living with IDD who may be experiencing a mental health crisis or have difficulty managing day-to-day activities. A Crisis Intervention Specialist works with Mobile Crisis Outreach Teams and the local police department to meet the needs of individuals with a dual diagnosis of IDD and mental illness.
The following services are provided to clients of the program:
The SAFE Alliance is a merger of the Austin Children's Shelter and SafePlace, both long-standing and respected human service agencies in Austin, TX serving the survivors of child abuse, sexual assault and exploitation, and domestic violence through prevention, intervention, and advocacy for social change. SAFE's goal is ambitious and simple: stop abuse for everyone.
SAFE and Integral Care have a long history of collaboration. Over the last six years, Integral Care has provided weekly psychiatric services to SAFE clients who are living with mental health needs. These services include on-site psychiatric assessments, diagnosis, medication management, follow-up care and referrals to other community resources as needed. In addition, Integral Care's Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (IDD) division joined with SAFE and Disability Rights Texas (DRTx) to form a multidisciplinary partnership through an Office Against Violence Against Women grant in 2014. During this project, Integral Care, SAFE and DRTx are providing cross training to each other's staff. Integral Care and DRTx staff also provided feedback on a safety planning guide and protocols for working with people with IDD and are partnering on a social media outreach project to people with disabilities.
Integral Care is proud to be part of this multidisciplinary partnership and looks forward to continuing to work together to develop and implement outreach, education, prevention, intervention strategies and healing services to people who live with IDD and/or other disabilities in Central Texas.