PURPOSE OF REVIEW: Little information is available on healthcare provision related to the prevention of mental health diseases in people with intellectual disabilities. This review summarizes recent literature reports concerning mental health problems, services and prevention in people with intellectual disability. METHOD: Electronic searches of Medline, PubMed and PsychInfo literature mainly using the key terms of prevention, health policy, mental health, mental disorder, intellectual disability, learning disability and mental retardation were carried out. RECENT FINDINGS: Most experts agree on the need for prevention or early recognition of mental health problems through better screening and appropriate treatment of people with intellectual disability. Recent studies have attempted to provide treatment-oriented solutions, specific mental health units and integrative treatment or person-centered planning for this service user group, although inequalities in both access to and the efficacy of services still exist in practice. There is also a continuing lack of sound evidence to support preventive policy-making related to the diagnosis and treatment of mental health problems in people with intellectual disability. Such evidence to support the implementation of proposed guidelines, protocols and programs related to preventive mental health policies has been poor and needs development. SUMMARY: To minimize the impact of mental health problems in people with intellectual disability, an evidence-based preventive policy is urgently needed for this group of people. In addition, there is an urgent need to establish an appropriate screening and monitoring system to track their mental health status and understand the treatment and side-effect profiles of psychiatric medication used to combat these disorders.
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