Mental Health & IDD

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Mental Health icon. Simplified figure with a medical cross on its head.Our Position

Access to quality treatment continues to be a problem for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) experiencing mental illness. Significant workforce shortages of mental health/ IDD specialists, as well as limited knowledge and training for mental health and IDD professionals, create substantial barriers. The Legislature should strengthen efforts to capitalize on the expertise in both fields and establish a seamless, comprehensive, and integrated system of care for this population.

In 2021, CTD urged the Legislature to:

The Latest

January 8, 2021: The Governor's Committee on People with Disabilities adopted our recommendation to establish an advisory committee in their own 2021 policy recommendations


Individuals with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (IDD) suffer disproportionately with mental health conditions. Reasons often include stress related to frustrating social challenges and limited language abilities, making it difficult to communicate feelings and needs. People with IDD are also at a higher risk of experiencing trauma such as physical, emotional, and sexual abuse, neglect, bullying, and unnecessary restraints. These inherent challenges and high incidents of trauma create a unique susceptibility for the development of mental health conditions.

It should be noted that youth with IDD are 3 times more likely to experience trauma and abuse than their peers without disabilities. Untreated trauma can place children at increased risk for further developmental delay. As young children grow and transition into school and then adulthood, early trauma or unidentified/untreated mental health challenges can follow along. Read more about our work to address mental health in schools.

Further Reading