FC Michael Seidel 1  Speaker 

Michael Seidel   

University of Bielefeld


Mental Health for people with ID – a challenge between human rights and scientific progress 

The WHO defined mental health as a state of well-being in which every individual realizes their own potential, is able to cope with the normal stresses of life, work productively and fruitfully, and make a contribution to their community. This definition makes use of a broad approach to mental health in accordance with the definition of health in general proposed by the WHO. From a more general perspective, the following key barriers need to be overcome: absence of mental health in the public health agenda and lack of implications for funding; current organization of mental health services; lack of integration within primary care; inadequate human resources for mental health care; and lack of public mental health leadership.

The topic of mental health in people with ID comprises specific aspects. People with ID bear high risks for behavioural problems, mental disorders, and physical diseases. The individual profile of health-related burdens and risks is often associated with the respective cause of their specific condition. Many of the specific conditions relate to so-called rare diseases or rare disabilities, which are unheeded and underfinanced fields of research and clinical practice. This leads to insufficiencies in healthcare for people with ID.

There are many challenges in research, medical services, and care for people with ID in order to promote mental health, and to prevent and fight mental disorders. The Convention on the Rights of Persons with disabilities (CRPD) (WHO, 2006) must be the yardstick for this endeavour.