Once again Meridian Health Services (MHS) has teamed up with INARF to provide a dual diagnosis track at this year’s annual conference. The goal of the partnership is to provide opportunities to increase our collective understanding of and ability to respond to the wide variety of needs of those we serve.
Persons with intellectual and developmental disabilities have a significantly higher rate of mental health concerns. According to the American Psychiatric Association (2013), the rate is three to five times greater (p. 40). To add to this complicating factor in determining quality of life, at least one study has shown that up to 37% of premature deaths in persons with IDD are avoidable (Taggart & Cousins, 2014, p. 2).
In response, the INARF Dual Diagnosis educational track offered of Wednesday, March 16th will cover the following topics: 1) Promoting Relaxation for Individuals with IDD 2) Developmental Disabilities and Depression with Case Studies 3) Health Promotion Programs and the Impact on Mental Health, and 4) How Staff/Caregivers Can Make an Impact on Health. Each of these programs is designed to offer practical tips for all levels of staff to better understand and respond to increase the mental, emotional, social, and physical wellness of persons with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities.
Meridian Health Services’ Connxxions Program is in 39 Indiana counties and growing. MHS has been named the first outpatient program accredited nationally to address the needs of persons with IDD and mental health concerns. They attribute part of their success to their understanding of the complex needs of those they serve and the idea that serving those needs is not best done alone. INARF members attending the conference are encouraged to visit the Meridian Health Services exhibit to explore creative partnerships in their regions.
American Psychiatric Association, & American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders: DSM-5. Washington, DC: American Psychiatric Association.
Taggart, L., & Cousins, W. (2014). Health promotion for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Berkshire, England: Open University Press.