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How can mental health clinicians, working in intellectual disability services, meet the spiritual needs of their service users?

Benjamin Loynes (Lewisham Mental Health in Learning Disability Team, South London and Maudsley Trust, London, UK)
Jean O'Hara (Behavioural and Developmental Psychiatry Clinical Academic Group, South London and Maudsley Trust, London, UK)

Advances in Mental Health and Intellectual Disabilities

ISSN: 2044-1282

Article publication date: 5 January 2015

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to identify approaches that mental health clinicians, working in intellectual disability services, can adopt to ensure the spiritual needs of their service users are met.

Design/methodology/approach

A narrative literature review examining original research, expert opinion pieces and book chapters was undertaken. To broaden the perspective of the paper, publications from different academic areas were reviewed including intellectual disabilities, mental health, neurodevelopmental disorders, general health and spirituality literature.

Findings

The main principles of spiritual assessment tools from the general health literature can be applied to this group. However, the literature would suggest that certain approaches are of particular importance in intellectual disabilities mental health including advocating for service users to attend the religious services they wish to and working collaboratively with families and carers when addressing spiritual issues.

Research limitations/implications

The question of how to meet the spiritual needs of people with autism and severe intellectual disability is a neglected research area. Research examining the spiritual needs of service users with intellectual disabilities, on mental health inpatient units, is also needed as well as a review of whether spiritual needs are being met in current person-centred care plans.

Originality/value

No published literature review was identified that specifically addressed the question of how mental health clinicians should approach the spiritual needs of their service users.

Keywords

Citation

Loynes, B. and O'Hara, J. (2015), "How can mental health clinicians, working in intellectual disability services, meet the spiritual needs of their service users?", Advances in Mental Health and Intellectual Disabilities, Vol. 9 No. 1, pp. 9-18. https://doi.org/10.1108/AMHID-10-2014-0035

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2015, Emerald Group Publishing Limited