The Colorado Autism Commission and subsequently Colorado Collaborative for Autism and Neurodevelopmental Disability Options (CANDO) identified the scarcity of appropriate services for children, youth and adults with these co-occurring needs as one of the most critical service issues in Colorado.
Problems: Numerous national reports have examined the problems associated with inadequate and/or poor quality mental health services for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Recommendations almost always center on the need for cross-system collaboration between mental health service providers, developmental disability service systems, and acute health care providers but problems persist. Excessive use of emergency services and psychiatric hospitals (when access to same is available) are only two of the unfortunate results of an uncoordinated system. The toll on individuals, their families and the community can be tragic.
What is needed: A program that strengthens efficiencies and service outcomes for people with intellectual/developmental disabilities with co-occurring mental health conditions and/or behavioral health needs related to their disability.
Colorado advocates and service providers can attest to the need for a program designed to provide seamless linkages among the many elements of community mental health care to avert crises and assure access, appropriateness, and accountability. An effective system would optimize independence, treatment, and community living for individuals with I/DD and behavioral health needs.
Accessing Intensive Mental Health Services (AIMS) for Children Report: The Co-Occurring Disorder Dilemma
Dual Diagnosis Summit: Understanding the crisis faced by individuals and families of children with multiple diagnoses
NADD Position Statement: Challenges that must be addressed in healthcare reform