Causes and Support Needs for people with Mental Health Conditions, Dementia and Learning Disabilities

Causes of Mental Ill Health: Mental ill health (including dementia) is not the same as learning disability. The causes of some mental health conditions and some learning disabilities are not known; some are physical others are not. Mental health conditions develop in a person.

Support Needs: People with mental ill health have episodes of being unwell but also periods where they function independently and it is important to adapt the support around how they are feeling on a particular day rather than an inflexible approach

Causes of Dementia: Dementia is not a disease, but a collection of symptoms that result from damage to the brain. These symptoms can be caused by a number of conditions. Dementia is a result of physical change in the brain/deterioration of the brain’s cells and neural pathways. Dementia develops in a person and is a terminal illness.

Support needs: People with dementia do not lose all their skills at the same rate, e.g. they may need help with tasks which require them to use their short term memory but may benefit from talking about things that happened in the past or doing things like hearing music and visiting places they have always enjoyed.

Causes of Learning Difficulties/Learning Disabilities: People are usually born with learning difficulties. In some cases learning disabilities are caused by an injury that affects the development of the brain during infancy or childhood (up to age 18).

Support needs: It is important that staff are not pushing people into doing things which are not what could be reasonably expected of them. Staff need to demonstrate that they are working with a positive attitude and are sensitive to encouraging, developing and maintaining the individual’s skills in order to promote their self esteem, independence and confidence. Staff need to assist people to make informed reasoned decisions and prevent neglect and abuse from occurring.

Use to answer question 9.1c of the Care Certificate

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