W01 -​​ Assessing and Addressing Mental Health Concerns of People With Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities​​ 
Friday, 23 October​​ 

11:15 – 12:45 (1.5 hrs)
Anupam Thakur*, MBBS,
​​ MD,​​ MSc; Kerry Boyd, MD, FRCPC; Palanisamy Vikram, MBBS, FRCPC, MRCPsych​​ 
Supported by the Developmental Disabilities Section​​ 


CanMEDS Roles:​​ 

  • Medical Expert​​ 

  • Collaborator​​ 

  • Professional​​ 

At the end of this session, participants will be able to:​​ 1) Discuss clinical challenges related to mental health issues in adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD); 2) Be aware of helpful assessment and management approaches for mental health comorbidities, including behaviours that challenge; and 3) Expand understanding of services and the role of interprofessionalism in developing care plans for people with IDD and mental health comorbidity.​​ 

People with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDDs) have a high burden of unmet physical and mental health needs and barriers to care. Forty to 50 percent of adults with IDD receive one or more psychiatric diagnoses. The presenting problem may be a change in behaviour. Behaviours like aggression and self-injury can be especially difficult to understand and manage in community or hospital settings. Challenges include polypharmacy; overuse of antipsychotics; frequent emergency department visits; repeated, protracted, and traumatic hospitalizations; as well as premature mortality. Many clinicians report feeling ill equipped to address mental health needs. Assessment and treatment approaches for all psychiatric professionals are critical in addressing mental health needs in this population.​​ 

This workshop will provide top tips for busy clinicians to assess and address the mental health needs of patients with IDD. We will engage practitioners in assessment approaches, equipping them with mental health guidelines and tools. Management of common mental health conditions, including behaviours that challenge, will be discussed, with illustrative case scenarios. An update on services and supports for people with IDD will include the role of interprofessional teams in formulating care plans. We will use interactive content, case-based discussion, and videos.


  • Sullivan WF, Diepstra H, Heng J, et al. Primary care of adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities: 2018 Canadian consensus guidelines. Can Fam Physician 2018;64:254–79.

  • National Guideline Alliance (UK). Mental health problems in people with learning disabilities: prevention, assessment and management. NICE guideline No. 54. London (UK): National Institute for Health and Care Excellence; 2016. Available from:​​


/ Virtual Conference 2020