Developmental disabilities, mental health issues often overlap

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  • Lorna Aberdein says:

    Well said!!!

  • Lorna Aberdein says:

    You make some valid points. I agree, LTC is in sad shape as well. I had 2 inlaws in LTC (one passed away in Dec) and see first-hand the sad lack of sufficient resources to address the needs of residents. There is no allowance for time to attend to their emotional and mental health needs. Funding doesn’t even provide enough for their basic physical needs where is the quality of life, dignity and respect for our elders, who gave so much of themselves throughout their lifetime. Shame on all of us for allowing them to languish in this current state. It’s too easy to blame a faceless, distant government. We all need to rise up and be heard if we have any hope of making things better.

  • Lorna Aberdein says:

    This is hopeful. Thank you for sharing Anne.

  • Lorna Aberdein says:

    All good points. I have a 34 year old daughter with Down syndrome, possible autistic tendencies and mental health challenges (high anxiety). She hasn’t seen a psychiatrist since her teen years, is on the same anti-depressant she was prescribed back then and is followed only by her family doctor. Any other treatment has been a patchwork cobbled together by me, eg. off and on counsellors, alternative therapies.

  • Sharon Allison says:

    Finally!! I have been pushing and advocating for our local Mental Health agency to provide counselling to children with developmental disabilities and Autism for years with no success. They have many reasons why they cannot provide counselling. I always assured the counsellors that they could. I just felt they needed to adapt their ways as schools have to teach, adapt language level, use pictures etc. The developmental systems have been teaching children with developmental disabilities for years to learn all kinds of skills, but alas we are not Mental Health workers with this kind of expertise.

    Thank you to Community Living Ontario for advocating for this much needed focus on future Mental Health services for children and adults with disabilities!

  • Denyse Lynch - Seniors' Caregivers'Advocate says:

    If education, support for families is needed has engagement of these families for their perspective started or is it still JUST about talking about the problem. Where’s the leadership and initiative on this? Seems there is quantifiable evidence about the problem. Solutions begin by taking a first action step! It’s the same in what we provide to our seniors in the community and Long Term Care. I advocated for my father for 15 long, hard years with NO support or, change…but yes, murders and lots of talk about how much money was being spent….. our vulnerable citizens are not important. Listen to what our leaders say….watch what they do. The MOH and policy folks need to stand up and be counted.

  • Anne Sprack says:

    As a nurse working in the mental health and addiction field with clients with and without developmental disabilities it is absolutely true that we do not have sufficient training for programs to be able to include clients with developmental disabilities into some of the our programs. However in saying that we have recently been able to pilot some work with teams to do cross training of staff and worked on ways that everyone can be informed of each others roles in the clients care. Clients are able to get the treatment they need in a much more timely fashion. Unfortunately due to the increase pressures to the system these types of training and collaborative work plans are much more difficult to organize. I am hoping that with some of the health links and care plan for clients initiatives that we will learn to work smarter together to help individuals and their families receive the care they need and deserve.


Yona Lunsky


Yona Lunsky, PhD, C.Psych., is the director of the Azrieli Adult Neurodevelopmental Centre at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health and a professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Toronto and leads the Health Care Access Research and Developmental Disabilities Program.

Robert Balogh


Robert Balogh is an adjunct scientist at ICES.


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