Jane McCarthy, Raghu Raghavan, Sarah H Bernard

Mental Health Needs of Children and Young People with Learning Disabilities




The last three decades of research shows there is a high prevalence of children and young people with a learning disability and mental health disorder. The overlap of challenging behaviour and mental health disorders along with the lack of understanding of the nature and manifestation of mental health disorders in this population produces a complex and perplexing picture in terms of detection, diagnosis and therapeutic services.

This book aims to explore issues relating to the care of children and young people with learning disabilities with mental health needs. Developing evidence based practice is a key theme of this book. We believe that through the consolidation of the evidence for assessment, intervention, service provision and safeguarding issues, professionals will be able to provide high-quality personalised care for children and young people with learning disabilities who have mental health needs.

This handbook will provide health and social care professionals with a sound knowledge base for shaping and enhancing their practice along with the skills and confidence to improve the outcomes for these young people.







Child and adolescent psychiatrists, psychologists in health and educational services, nurses (children’s nurses, school nurses, mental health and learning disability nurses), social workers, teachers, service commissioners and providers, IAPT Psychological Wellbeing Practitioners and IAPT High Intensity Therapists.


ISBN: 9781841962870
Publisher: Pavilion Publishing and Media
Publication: 05 January 2011

  • Chapter 1: Epidemiology and aetiology
  • Chapter 2: Assessment
  • Chapter 3: Specific conditions
  • Chapter 4: Nursing perspectives and care planning
  • Chapter 5: Psychological interventions
  • Chapter 6: Pharmacological interventions
  • Chapter 7: Transition and social networks
  • Chapter 8: Ethnicity and diversity
  • Chapter 9: Service models
  • Chapter 10: Safeguarding children
  • Chapter 11: The Mental Health Act, capacity and consent


Raghu Raghavan is a reader in the disability and mental health research programme in the School of Health, Community and Education at Northumbria University. Raghu has a clinical background in health psychology and learning disability nursing and expertise in service development. He led the development of assertive outreach teams and secure services for people with learning disabilities with behaviour and mental health needs.

Raghu has developed a strong research profile in learning disability, mental health, and social inclusion. He has experience of participatory research models and has worked with young people with learning disabilities and their families in promoting inclusion and participation. He has expertise in supporting people with behaviour and mental health needs, inclusive approaches to care, social networks, and frontline and professional staff development.

Collaborating with professionals in health and social care services for research and practice facilitation, Raghu has also developed the leadership and management of nurse education programmes and service developments. Raghu pioneered knowledge transfer ventures through national short course programmes in intellectual disability and mental health, which have been successfully running for the past 11 years. He has published widely – over 40 publications – which include books, book chapters, peer reviewed journals and research reports.

Jane McCarthy joined St Andrew’s Healthcare Nottinghamshire in April 2011 as clinical director, leading the development of the clinical assessment and treatment models for the secure pathways for adults with autism spectrum disorders and those with intellectual disabilities. Jane has a wealth of experience as a specialist in the psychiatry of intellectual disability and she has actively contributed for over 15 years through research, teaching, and as a consultant psychiatrist towards service delivery and development.

From September 2009 until December 2010, she acted as clinical advisor for adults with autism at the Department of Health, supporting the first-year delivery of the strategy Fulfilling and Rewarding Lives: The strategy for adults with Autism in England. Jane was the interim course leader for the MSc Mental Health in Learning Disabilities at King’s College, London. Jane’s key research interests include the outcomes of psychiatric disorders in people with intellectual, including those with autistic spectrum disorders. In the last five years Jane has significantly contributed to research in this area, having obtained funding for a number of research initiatives including ‘Mental Health Outcomes in Adults with Autism and Learning Disabilities’.


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