Systemic Barriers and Promises for the Future

Despite significant progress over the past decade, there still remain gaps in the service delivery systems for persons who have a dual diagnosis of intellectual disability and mental illness.  As CEO of NADD, it is not uncommon for me to receive a call from a parent concerned about a son or daughter who cannot access mental health out-patient or in-patient services because the individual has an intellectual disability.  This systemic barrier has also been identified in the research NADD has been involved with in several states over the last few years.  This barrier has attitudinal, clinical, legal, as well as public policy implications.  One should not be denied services because of a co-existing disorder.  This is contradictory to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

NADD has worked very diligently in attempts to alter this situation by facilitating the building of bridges between the mental health and developmental disability service systems.  Although each of these two systems has their own eligibility criteria, funding sources, and regulations, an individual who meets the criteria of both systems should have access to services from both systems at the same time.

We must continue our advocacy efforts as individuals, programs, and organizations to insure that persons who have a dual diagnosis receive the appropriate services that they are entitled to receive.

We invite your thoughts on this issue.

Robert J. Fletcher, Founder & CEO, NADD

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About thenaddblog
NADD is a non for profit membership organization designed to promote awareness of and resources for individuals who have an intellectual disability co-occurring with a mental health disorder.

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