The needs of adults and children with intellectual disabilities and autism are generally best met in services such as HSE Primary Care and HSE Disability services.
However, people may have mild, moderate or severe mental health difficulties in addition to their intellectual disability or autism, which can mean their treatment needs are more complex. The HSE service best suited to an individual patient is determined by the level of the intellectual disability and of the mental health difficulty.
The mental health policy, A Vision for Change, recommended the development of mental health intellectual disability (MHID) teams, to provide population-wide coverage and ensure fair and equal access to mental healthcare for people of all ages with an intellectual disability and autism.
In 2017, the HSE’s national mental health service, in co-operation with social care services, initiated a new service improvement programme, to develop both adult and CAMHS MHID services nationally, and to further the operationalisation of A Vision for Change for this speciality.
Increased Government investment in mental health has enabled this person-centred MHID team model of care, to ensure consistent service delivery. This model is being adopted nationally and will augment existing mental health teams, as needed.
Since 2012, the Government has added €315 million to the mental health budget. This is an increase of 45% over this time. This investment has enabled the enhancement of specialist mental health services in areas such as MHID, eating disorders and ADHD.
A Vision for Change also recommended the development of acute beds and day hospital services for MHID treatment. 10 beds have been specifically dedicated for MHID in the new 170-bed state-of-the-art complex in Portrane, which will replace the Central Mental Hospital in Dundrum. The new facility will modernise the forensic mental health service in Ireland. The complex will also contain a 10 bedroom forensic child and adolescent mental health unit and a 30 bedroom intensive care rehabilitation unit will be co-located on the site.
Investment in acute MHID services will continue to be prioritised and developed as part of the HSE MHID service improvement programme, in conjunction with HSE social care and Section 38 and 39 voluntary agencies. The development of innovative acute treatment services including therapeutic respite for children with intellectual disabilities and significant mental health and behavioural support needs, will also be explored.