Mental health statistics: learning disabilities

Mental health problems among people with a learning disability are often overlooked, underdiagnosed and left untreated as a result of poor understanding, awareness, evidence in this area and symptoms being mistakenly attributed to the person's learning disability.

  • Data has shown that people with lower intellectual ability had higher rates of symptoms of common mental health problems (25%) compared to those with average (17.2%) or above-average (13.4%) intellectual functioning.1
  • One study found that 54% of people with a learning disability have a mental health problem.2
  • Children with learning disabilities are four and a half times more likely to have a mental health problem than children without a learning disability.3

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  1. Raj, D., Stansfeld, S., Weich, S., Stewart, R., McBride, O., Brugha, T., … & Papp, M. (2016). Chapter 13: Comorbidity in mental and physical illness. In S. McManus, P. Bebbington, R. Jenkins, & T. Brugha (Eds.), Mental health and wellbeing in England: Adult Psychiatric Morbidity Survey 2014. Leeds: NHS Digital.
  2. Cooper, S.A., Smiley, E., Morrison, J., Williamson, A., & Allan, L. (2007). Mental ill-health in adults with intellectual disabilities: Prevalence and associated factors. The British Journal of Psychiatry, 190, 27–35.
  3. Emerson, E., & Hatton, C. (2007). Mental health of children and adolescents with intellectual disabilities in Britain. The British Journal of Psychiatry, 191(6), 493–499.