Fri April 4, 2014
Dual diagnosis just the latest mental health challenge
I-News Network health reporter Kristin Jones reports on the complex challenges faced by people with a "dual diagnosis," both a developmental disability and a mental illness. It's just another complication that's wearing down an already over-burdened mental health infrastructure.
Jones writes: A tranquil moment of drawing at the kitchen table cedes to Alex’s high-pitched squeal, his wrists colliding. Once he starts hitting himself, there’s nothing to do but freeze and wait for it to pass.
Meredith was diagnosed with autism when he was very young. Later, his parents were told he also displayed symptoms of mental illness — obsessive-compulsive disorder, anxiety, psychosis and depression. For Carol and John Meredith, Alex’s parents, the search for treatment has brought them to psychiatrists and psychologists, to mental health centers and the community-centered boards that serve people with autism and other developmental disabilities. Carol heads The Arc of Arapahoe and Douglas Counties, an organization that advocates for people with disabilities, and has access to more than the usual range of leads and contacts. Still, nobody seems to know exactly what to do with Alex. Read Kristin Jones' full story on dual diagnoses here. As Governor John Hickenlooper's various mental health initiatives wind their way through the legislative and budget bureaucracy, a statewide network of citizens concerned about the state of mental health care is holding a series of meetings around Colorado on April 5. Details are available at the Facebook page or website for Creating Community Solutions Colorado.