Trisha Thrush, PhD

The Community Service Needs of Individuals with Developmental Disabilities and Mental Illness from the Perspective of the Mental Health Professional

The purpose of this research was to examine the community service needs of individuals with developmental disabilities (DD) and severe mental illness (SMI). The level of success among individuals with DD/SMI within community settings largely depends on their level of functioning, adaptive behaviors, and needs being met. The current study utilized qualitative research methods of grounded theory approach, interviews, and focus groups to gather exploratory data from mental health professionals about the community services needs of individuals with DD/SMI. Findings indicated the need for 1) staffing supports and other supportive services, 2) having access to services or service provision, 3) suggestions for a new service structure, 4) having a support person who the DD/SMI person knows well, 5) identifying barriers to accessing services, and 6) a lack of understanding about people with DD/SMI.