Module 12 - The Service System

Introduction to the service systems

Historically people with an ID or psychiatric illness, although recognised as being different, were treated as being essentially the same. As, until recently, neither condition was treatable,  the solution was found in the institutions which housed increasing numbers of  people until the late 50's and early 60's. The development of effective treatment for some psychiatric disorders in the late 50's and the injustice of treating people with an intellectual disability under a medical model as being 'ill' were two of the main factors that led to the concept of separate services for people with either an intellectual disability or a psychiatric illness. In many Western countries what was one service that cared for both groups of people was split into two being one for people with a disability and on for people with a mental illness. As the institutions were closed down their inhabitants were placed under the umbrella of either one service or the other. This involved determining whether their disability was primarily psychiatric or intellectual. As time as passed this distinction has remained one of the primary considerations in determining which service is accessed. Understanding the service system is important to be able to get the right services for people with intellectual disability and mental health problems. This section aims to provide an overview of the main elements of the mental health and disability service systems.  
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