Co-Occurring Developmental Disability & Behavioral Health Conditions: Implications for Providing Training in Georgia

Posted On December 2, 2019
Categories Uncategorized

Authors: Sharifa Peart, Ellie Potts, Emily Kate Rubio, Jessica Watson, Margaret Akinhanmi, Sarah Auer, Connor Van Meter, Bethany Burns-Lynch, & Emily Graybill


There is a significant need for improved training for professionals who work with individuals with co-occurring diagnoses.

Based on the results of our brief scan, effective training models seem to exist for professionals serving individuals with co-occurring developmental disabilities and behavioral health diagnoses. Further research is warranted to assess and analyze the barriers for accessing existing trainings within Georgia.



People living with dual diagnoses of a developmental disability (DD) and behavioral health (BH) concerns are chronically underserved.

  • 30-50% of adolescents living with an intellectual disability also experience behavioral health concerns
  • There are few models for developing capacity in existing DD/BH systems. Two exemplar programs currently exist, one in New Jersey and one in New Hampshire. The New Hampshire model (through the Center for START Services) is being implemented in multiple states across the country.


  • Conducted a brief Environmental Scan and Literature Review (ESLR)
  • Conducted stakeholder interviews
  • ESLR and interviews analyzed for themes



  • A need for improved collaboration between behavioral health professionals and those providing trainings.
  • Crisis training for first responders working with individuals with DD and BH diagnoses.
  • Exemplar training models teach providers to operate under the assumption of competence.


  • Training that builds capacity in already existing organizations
  • Need for more data from other stakeholders
    • Individuals with co-occurring diagnoses
    • Parents of individuals


  • Werner, S., & Stawski, M. (2012). Mental health: Knowledge, attitudes and training of professionals on dual diagnosis of intellectual disability and psychiatric disorder. Journal of Intellectual Disability Research, 56(3), 291-304.
  • Durbin, A., Sirotich, F., Lunsky, Y., & Durbin, J. (2017). Unmet needs of adults in community mental health care with and without intellectual and developmental disabilities: A cross-sectional study. Community mental health journal, 53(1), 15-26.
  • Weiss, J. A., Lunsky, Y., Gracey, C., Canrinus, M., & Morris, S. (2009). Emergency psychiatric services for individuals with intellectual disabilities: Caregivers’ perspectives. Journal of Applied Research in Intellectual Disabilities, 22(4), 354-362.
  • Lambros, K., Kraemer, B., Wager, J. D., Culver, S., Angulo, A., & Saragosa, M. (2016). Students with Dual Diagnosis: Can School-Based Mental Health Services Play a Role?. Journal of Mental Health Research in Intellectual Disabilities, 9(1-2), 3-23.

Interested in learning more about this work?


Emily Kate Rubio at
Ellie Potts at