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Mental health problems in people with learning disabilities (NICE guidelines NG54)

New guidance has been released for managing mental health problems in people with learning disabilities.


This Guideline developed by the National Guideline Alliance (NGA) is one of two Guidelines commissioned by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) concerning care and treatment of people with Learning Disabilities. The focus of this Guideline is Mental Health problems in people with Learning Disabilities. 

About the guideline

Mental Health problems, both commonly occurring problems like depression and anxiety, and less common problems such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, are under-recognised and therefore often untreated in people with Learning Disabilities. This is a cause of considerable concern as many of the effective treatments work just as well for people with Learning Disabilities as the general population.

The Guideline makes a number of recommendations about how better to identify Mental Health problems in this group and links it closely with reviews of their physical health care.

Both pharmacological and psychological intervention are effective, particularly for those people with mild to moderate Learning Disabilities. Effective interventions for people with more severe Learning Disabilities are not so well developed and the Guideline makes a number of research recommendations to address this. The Guideline also provides the evidence to support a move toward effective community based care for people with Learning Disabilities and Mental Health problems.

Read the guideline

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