Department of Developmental Disability Neuropsychiatry (3DN)

National Health & Medical Research Council Partnerships for Better Health Project, Improving Mental Health Outcomes for People with an Intellectual Disability

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Project Members
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Senior Lecturer
Ph +61 2 9385 2578
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Research Officer
Ph 02 9385 2208
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Chair, Intellectual Disability Mental Health and Head, Department of Developmental Disability Neuropsychiatry
Ph 02 9931 9160
Project Main Description

Our Partnership Team has developed a research plan which will improve access to, and quality of mental health services for people with ID. Using a linked NSW Ministry of Health and Ageing, Disability & Home Care dataset, we will integrate the data from our Partners to develop a comprehensive profile of mental ill health and service use in people with ID. Interrogation of these data will identify the linkages and gaps between service sectors (mental health, disability, justice and education) and the benefit of cross-sector work including the impact of various initiatives in NSW in the area of ID and co-occurring mental ill health. We will complement our data driven approach with comprehensive analysis of policy relevant to ID mental health, to address key gaps in policy and policy development in this area. In addition, qualitative research with focus groups will identify ways to improve the recognition of mental disorders among clinical, disability and education service staff, and will work with people with ID to identify and deliver means of improving access to mental health services and supports for people with ID. The findings will develop an evidence base to guide the development of clinical services and policy for people with ID to meet their fundamental right to quality mental health support.

Background

Australians with an ID represent a significant minority group who have very poor mental health status compared to the general population, and who experience exceedingly poor access to mental health services and supports. The failure of current systems and services to address the specific mental health needs of people with ID is apparent to governments, policy makers, clinicians, researchers and consumers and their support persons, and has provided a unifying platform for this Partnerships Project. The current situation is at odds with Australia’s obligations under the United Nations Convention of the Rights of Persons with a Disability (CRPD, ratified by Australia in 2008).

This National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) Partnerships for Better Health Project grant to the value of $2.4M was awarded to Professor Trollor and his Team of Co-Investigators and Partner Organisations in 2013 and commenced in September 2014. It consists of cash and in-kind support provided by Partners and a co-contribution from the NHMRC which is based on the strength of the Partnership and integrity of the research strategy. The Project will run for four years to 2018 and promises some exciting developments in our understanding of mental illness in this marginalised population. It will significantly enhance the body of evidence on the access to, and uptake of, mental health services for people with ID who experience significant disadvantage in our current service system. The project also provides exciting career and PhD opportunities for those interested in this area.

Aims

In collaborating with key mental health, disability, education, justice and consumer agencies, our Project seeks to fulfil three main aims:

  1. To create an annualised linkage of administrative minimum datasets of our Partners to enable a detailed examination of mental health profiles and service utilisation, patterns of cross-sector service provision including specific gaps, the impact of recent service initiatives for people with ID, and to enable comprehensive development of ID mental health services in NSW.
  2. To analyse Commonwealth and State mental health policy to determine the current representation of people with ID and to establish strategies which will enhance ID mental health policy.
  3. To engage with stakeholders including consumers and support persons (including family and non-family carers), to inform improved recognition of mental ill health, accessibility of mental health services and mental health policy for people with ID across the lifespan and;
  4. Progressing to maturity a partnership which develops and applies an evidence based approach to ID mental health service development, policy and reform across the lifespan for people with ID.

We are very excited to be recipients of this grant and are enthusiastic to get the project under way.

Publications

Policy analysis: Summary for Policy Makers

Policy analysis: Summary for Service Providers

Policy analysis: Plain English Summary

 

Videos

 

Staff and Partner Organisations

Project Members: Dr Preeyaporn Srasuebkul (senior data analyst), Erin Whittle (project officer), Dr Simone Reppermund (senior project officer), Dr Tess Heintze (data analyst), Ms Snow Li, Ms Bronwyn Newman

Chief Investigators: Professor Julian Trollor, Professor Eric Emerson (University of Sydney), Professor Rhoshel Lenroot, Dr Leanne Dowse, Professor Karen Fisher, Associate Professor Kimberlie Dean

Associate Investigators: Professor Eileen Baldry, Professor Les White (NSW Ministry of Health), Dr Grant Sara (NSW Ministry of  Health), Dr Tony Florio, Dr Phillip Snoyman (Corrective Services NSW)

Partners: Mental Health & Drug & Alcohol Office - NSW Ministry of Health, Ageing, Disability & Home Care - NSW Department of Family & Community Services, Justice & Forensic Mental Health Network – NSW Ministry of Health, Agency for Clinical Innovation – Intellectual Disability Network, Mental Health Review Tribunal, NSW Ombudsman, Office of the Public Guardian, National Disability Services, NSW & National Council for Intellectual Disability, NSW Department of Education & Communities, Mental Health Commission of NSW

Project Coordinator: Dr Simone Reppermund

Further Information

For further information about the project, please contact either Dr Simone Reppermund s.reppermund@unsw.edu.au, ph +61 (2) 9385 2578 or Professor Julian Trollor j.trollor@unsw.edu.au, ph +61 (2) 9931 9160.

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