The Catalan Society of Psychiatry and Mental Health and Granés Fundació have come together to organise the first Seminar on Mental Health and Intellectual Disability
The Catalan Society of Psychiatry and Mental Health and Granés Fundació have organised the first Seminar on Mental Health and Intellectual Disability, with the participation of professionals from the Specialised Network in Mental Health for People with Intellectual Disabilities (SESMDI [Specialised Service in Mental Health and Intellectual Disability] / UHEDI [Specialised Hospitalisation Unit for Intellectual Disability]), which has been rolled out to all parts of Catalonia.
Historically, neither health professionals nor health managers have paid sufficient attention to the possibility that people with intellectual disabilities could suffer from mental disorders, either considering it less incapacitating than the underlying intellectual disability or an inevitable consequence of the disability.
The UN Declaration on the Rights of Disabled Persons states that people with intellectual disability should live in the community and use its resources. This in turn requires recognising the right of people with intellectual disability to receive adequate medical care, and improving skills in detecting and diagnosing possible mental disorders, as the added presence of mental illness requires greater support in order to function independently in the community.
Held online on 14 May, more than 300 people registered for the seminar, including professionals working in social entities, basic and specialised social services, and primary, specialised and hospital care. In one way or another, all these professionals provide support to improve the quality of life of people with intellectual disability and mental illness.
Prevalence of mental disorders and intellectual disability
According to Dr. Ramon Novell, head of the Intellectual Disability Department at the Institute of Health Care (IAS), and Dr. Aida Palacín, a psychiatrist working in the same team, “the dual diagnosis of mental disorder and intellectual disability has often not been recognised. In any case, it is almost always underdiagnosed and, consequently, is not treated”. The experts add that “epidemiological studies show different prevalences of psychiatric disorders in people with intellectual disability. Although there are few well-designed studies at present that directly compare the incidence and prevalence of mental illness in the population with and without intellectual disability, the epidemiological data suggest that people with intellectual disability are more likely to suffer from psychiatric disorders at some stage during their lives”.
Along these same lines, the data available show that up to 41% of people with intellectual disability have psychiatric disorders. If behavioural problems are excluded, this percentage drops to 28%, and if the autistic spectrum disorder is also excluded, the final figure comes down to 22.4%. The prevalence of psychiatric disorders increases with more severe levels of intellectual disability.
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The seminar started with a presentation by Laura Masferrer, Granés Fundació’s General Manager; Jordi Blanch, Director of the Ministry of Health’s Executive Plan for Mental Health and Addictions within the Government of Catalonia; Claudi Camps, Director of Patient Care at the Institute of Health Care (IAS), and Carme Mariscot, psychiatrist at the IAS and member of the Governing Board of the Catalan Society of Psychiatry and Mental Health (SCPiSM).
The keynote lecture, entitled “Mental Health in People with Intellectual Development Disorder: A Comprehensive Care Process” was given by Ramon Novel, Head of the Intellectual Disability Department at the IAS –SESMDI Girona–.
Following that, the debate focused on “The Catalan Care Model for People with Intellectual Development Disorder and Mental Illness and/or Behavioural Disorders”, with a talk given by Silvia Angel, Head of the Intellectual Disability Department, Parc Sanitari Sant Joan de Déu –SESMDI Barcelona – Costa de Ponent–.
Subsequently, Rafael Martínez Leal, Research and Training Coordinator at the Intellectual Disability Department, Villablanca Serveis Assistencials –SESMDI Tarragona – Pere Mata– talked about “Physical Health and Behavioural Disorders in People with Intellectual Development Disorder, the Pomona II Study”.
For her part, Susanna Esteba-Castillo, neuropsychologist at the IAS –SESMDI Girona– introduced the theme of “Cognitive Phenotypes in Intellectual Development Disorder”.
The seminar continued with the talk on “Catatonia and Intellectual Disability”, given by Afonso Fernandes de Abreu, a psychiatrist at the Hospital de Mataró-Consorci Sanitari del Maresme –SESMDI Maresme – Barcelonès Nord–.
Ramon Coronas, coordinator of the SESMDI Corporació Sanitària Parc Taulí de Sabadell –SESMDI Vallès Occidental–, addressed the issue of Psychotic and Affective Disorders in Mental Illness in the Intellectual Development Disorder.
Finally, Laura Plans, a psychiatrist at the Xarxa Assistencial Universitària de Manresa, Althaia –SESMDI Catalunya Central – Althaia–, covered the area of Disorder and Repetitive Behaviours (Tics, OCD and Stereotypies) in mental illness in the Intellectual Development Disorder.
The seminar was summed up by Carme Mariscot, psychiatrist at the IAS and member of the Governing Board of the SCPiSM, and closed by Narcís Cardoner, president of the Catalan Society of Psychiatry and Mental Health.
Catalan Society of Psychiatry and Mental Health (SCPiSM)
The SCPiSM was formed from the merger of the Catalan Society of Psychiatry and the Catalan Society of Mental Health on 10 October 2005 to pool effort with the goal of attaining levels of excellence in care, teaching and research in mental health, providing a reference point, stimulus and vehicle for contacts between professionals.
Granés Fundació was created in 2017 with an endowment provided by its sponsor, the business owner Candi Granés Campasol, who wished to form an organisation that would give back to society and his local community part of what he had received during his life. Its purpose is to provide support for people with physical and intellectual disabilities and help young people undertake specialised courses of study or university master’s degrees or research projects.