Services for individuals who live with co-existing intellectual disabilities and a mental illness.
Developmental disabilities mental health services (DDMHS) provides specialized mental health community services for ages 12 and over who live with co-existing intellectual disabilities and a mental illness. The person may also struggle with behavioural challenges.
Based on an individual’s assessment, our specialized team of mental health care professionals will offer you the services and supports that best suit the individual’s needs. We work with the person and their support network for up to 18 months. We do this so they can get the most from our services and have a long-lasting recovery.
We serve people who:
- Are 12 years or older
- Have an intellectual disability
- Are experiencing mental health concerns and/or complex, challenging behaviours
- Live in the Fraser Health or Vancouver Coastal Health regions
Once accepted into our program, we assess and treat mental health conditions and complex, challenging behaviours. We create a plan of care for each person. This could include therapy, medicine, education and referrals to other care services.
Our other services and supports might also include:
- Group therapy sessions
- Advice for family doctors, nurse practitioners and other health professionals
- Education for support networks
- Support for community services
Psychiatric assessment and treatment
A psychiatrist meets with the client and caregivers to assess their mental health, and provide diagnostic clarification and treatment recommendations. Treatment may include medications and/or other therapies, as well as resource recommendations and advocacy. See below for services that are considered during the treatment planning stage.
Initial assessments with our psychiatrists are typically done in-person at our clinic or a satellite clinic. They are usually two hours long, and we encourage clients and their networks to bring an updated medication list, data collection sheets and other relevant information. Follow up appointments follow a hybrid manner - online via Zoom or in-person – this is up to the discretion of the treatment team and the client/network preference.
Our counsellors may meet individuals one-on-one to help them understand and build skills to cope with any challenges they may be experiencing. The therapist helps the individual understand how negative thought patterns may be affecting their mood, and learn how to make positive changes in their thoughts and behaviours. Caregivers are also included in the therapy process (with consent) to provide education, consistency and support skill building between sessions.
Art therapy, sometimes called creative arts therapy or expressive arts therapy, encourages people to express and understand emotions through artistic expression and through the creative process. This may be a service option that is determined during the treatment planning process.
- Behavioural assessment and therapy
A behavioural assessment could include data collection (gathering information in a systematic way), a functional assessment (questioning what function the maladaptive behaviour is serving for the client) and an environmental assessment (looking at how environmental factors are causing or maintaining the maladaptive behaviour).
- Psychological services
Our behavioural psychologist helps individuals adjust their behaviours to be less harmful, while still allowing them to express their needs. Our psychologist does not perform psychological testing for intelligence.
- Behavioural assessment and therapy
Education and group services
Our education and training services support individuals with a mild intellectual disability and mental illness, as well as family members, caregivers, community partners and other professionals.
Group services eligibility:
- Have a mild intellectual disability (IQ 50-70)
- Be age 19 years or older
- Be treated/under doctor’s supervision if they have any psychiatric diagnosis
- Be able to participate in a group discussions
- Be able to attend all sessions unless ill
Our education groups include:
Dealing with feelings of anxiety or depression groups
There are two different groups to support individuals who are experiencing feelings of anxiety or depression; one for individuals and one for caregivers.
Participants will learn how to:
- Feel more relaxed.
- Express and understand anxious and depressed feelings.
- Be more calm and cope better with feelings of anger, fear and sadness.
Families and support people will learn how to:
- Best support their loved ones/clients as they learn to manage their feelings more effectively.
- Put newly learned skills into practice with their loved ones/clients.
- Support their loved ones/clients to use the skills they have learned to help them to successfully manage feelings.
Healthy relationships group
Participants will learn about social skills; talk about dating, friendships and how to be safe in these relationships, in a relaxed, conversational atmosphere.
Sexual health group
Participants will learn about important sexual health information through discussions about what sex is, personal choice and responsibilities of sexual relationships, emphasizing individuals’ safety and consent.
How do I access these services?
To access our services, it depends on the age of the person needing help.
All referrals to DDMHS require a recent physical examination and approval by the individual’s family doctor or nurse practitioner.
Expect us to ask for the following:
- A completed referral form
- A copy of a recent physical exam
- Approval from the family doctor or nurse practitioner
- A copy of a completed psychological report
For youth 12 to 18 years of age
The request must come through the Child and Youth with Special Needs Program (CYSN) in Ministry of Children and Family Development (MCFD). The youth team is funded by MCFD.
A psychological evaluation (for example, the person's level of understanding and processing information) is required before the person comes to our program. This testing is not done by our program. Psychological testing/evaluation can be done through the following agencies:
For people 19 years of age and older
Any of these people can ask for our services:
- Persons with intellectual disabilities
- Families, caregivers or other support persons
- Community Living BC staff
- Family doctors and nurse practitioners
- Health professionals in hospitals and mental health centres
Download and complete your adult referral form for Development Disabilities Mental Health Services.277.82 KBUpdated 02/05/2023
Only to be completed by CLBC/CYSN181.61 KBUpdated 02/05/2023
For GP's/NP's only147.41 KBUpdated 02/05/2023
Only to be completed by CYSN SW or hospital283.25 KBUpdated 02/05/2023
Call the clinic for information about our current group availability.1.11 MBUpdated 02/05/2023
- Community Living British Columbia (CLBC)
Crown agency provides funding for services that help adults with developmental disabilities. Offers programming, housing and community inclusion.
- Ministry of Children and Family Development: Children and Youth with Special Needs (MCFD/CYSN)
Funds a range of programs and services for children and youth with special needs and their families, including information on housing, day programs and support services.
- Child and Youth Mental Health (CYMH)
CYMH provides a wide range of community-based specialized mental health services to mentally ill children and their families.
- Vancouver Coastal Health Access and Assessment Center (AAC)
The Access and Assessment Centre (AAC) helps individuals and families access mental health and substance use services in Vancouver. Services include referral intake, on-site assessment, crisis intervention, and short-term treatment.
- Services to Adults with Developmental Disabilities (STADD)
Transition planning for youth and young adults with developmental disabilities.
- Vancouver Community Rehabilitation and Resource Team
The Rehab and Resource Team is a team of health care professionals. We provide short-term six-month rehabilitation programs for individuals with complex disabilities who live in Vancouver.
- Autism Community Training (ACT)
ACT is an information and referral service that supports individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and their families across B.C.
Provides in-patient multi-disciplinary mental health assessment and recommendations to individuals ages 14 and up with a developmental disability and a concurrent mental illness or behaviour issues.