BIOMED-MEROPE* project: service provision for adults with intellectual disability: a European comparison

G Holt, H Costello, N Bouras, S Diareme, J Hillery, S Moss, C Rodriguez-Blazquez, L Salvador, J Tsiantis, G Weber, C Dimitrakaki

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43 Citations (Scopus)


The aim of the present paper is to describe and compare services for adults with intellectual disability (ID) and mental health needs in five European countries: Austria, England, Greece, Ireland and Spain. A framework and structure for collecting information about service provision was designed. This information was collected through a mixture of interviews with service providers, questionnaires and a review of the research literature within each country. Information was collected on historical context, policy, legislation, assessment, treatment and the structure of services for people with ID and mental health problems. Overall, the needs of those with additional mental health needs have not been specifically addressed at a national level with perhaps the exception of England and Ireland, although there are still gaps in services in these nations. Normalization has been adopted in each of the five countries, and there are moves toward deinstitutionalization, integration and inclusion. Families and self-advocacy groups have grown. The pace of this change varies between and even within countries. The main findings of the study include: unclear policy, trends for legislative changes, increased prevalence of mental health problems, inadequate generic service provision, a need for specialist mental health services, a need for improved interconnections of services, and a need for training developments. Policy and legislation in the five European countries under consideration tend to separate the disability aspects of people with ID from their mental health needs. Consequently, the service needs of this group remain largely invisible. This might be a direct reflection of policy clarity and legislation, or could be the result of a failure to implement existing guidelines. This has a detrimental effect on the lives of people with ID, and their families and carers.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)685 - 696
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Intellectual Disability Research
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2000


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