This week is Learning Disability Week, a chance to make sure society challenges the barriers people with a learning disability face as well as celebrate the things people with a learning disability bring to society.

Learning disabilities are not mental health problems, although many people with a learning disability can develop mental health problems.

By definition, a learning disability is a reduced intellectual ability which can make it difficult to do everyday activities, such as household tasks, socialising or managing money.

Data shows that people with learning disabilities are ~12% more likely to experience common mental health problems than those without.

Learning disabilities are unique to each person, which makes it all the more important to us that we work with service users, families, carers, social workers and third-party agencies to ensure we are doing our very best for each person.

Whilst having a diagnosis of a learning disability can be helpful, it doesn’t tell you everything about who a person is, or what mental health difficulties they are experiencing.

As a Trust, we work together with staff to deliver safe and equitable healthcare for our service users with learning disabilities. Some of the work we aim to do well includes:

  • Establishing a Learning Disability and Autism Steering Group
  • Creating sensory-friendly wards
  • Implementing training around reasonable adjustments
  • Working with and learning from our Experts by Experience

Additionally, BSMHFT has many colleagues who are Learning Disability Nurses, one is Runey Begum, she said:

“My journey to becoming a Learning Disability Nurse was driven by a profound desire to make a difference in the lives of individuals with learning disabilities. From a young age, I was passionate about healthcare and helping others.

Through various experiences and personal interactions, I realised the significant challenges faced by people with learning disabilities and their families. This realisation fuelled my commitments to pursue a career where I could advocate for and support this often-underrepresented group.

Being a Learning Disability Nurse is more than a profession to me; it is a calling. The opportunity to positively impact the lives of individuals with learning disabilities is both a privilege and a profound responsibility.

I am inspired by the resilience, courage, and potential of our service users.

It is incredibly rewarding to see service users overcome barriers, achieve their goals, and lead fulfilling lives.

Importantly – it is an honour to be a part of our service users’ journey, to celebrate their achievements, and to contribute to a more inclusive and compassionate healthcare system – it is a role I am deeply passionate about!”