Services for individuals who live with co-existing developmental disabilities and a mental illness.
Developmental disabilities mental health services (DDMHS) provides specialized mental health community services for ages 12 and over who live with co-existing developmental disabilities and a mental illness. Individuals may also struggle with behavioural challenges that are often influenced by the mental illness and developmental disability.
Based on an individual’s assessment, our specialized team of mental health care professionals will offer you the services and supports that best suit the individual’s needs.
- Behavioural assessment and therapy
A behavioural assessment could include data collection (gathering information in a systematic way), a functional assessment (questioning what function the maladaptive behaviour is serving for the client) and an environmental assessment (looking at how environmental factors are causing or maintaining the maladaptive behaviour).
- Psychological services
Our psychologist does not perform psychological testing for intelligence. Our behavioural psychologist helps individuals adjust their behaviours to be less harmful, while still allowing them to express their needs.
- Behavioural assessment and therapy
Psychiatric assessment and treatment
A psychiatrist meets with the client and caregivers to assess mental health issues. Treatment may include medications and/or other therapies.
Our counsellors meet 1-1 or in groups with individuals to help them understand and solve adjustment problems or behaviour difficulties. Counselling groups include topics such as healthy relationships, sexual health, dealing with feelings of anxiety and depression and family/caregiver support.
- Art therapy
Art therapy, sometimes called creative arts therapy or expressive arts therapy, encourages people to express and understand emotions through artistic expression and through the creative process.
- Sand tray therapy
A registered clinical counsellor supports individuals who have difficulty speaking or communicating verbally by helping them to express themselves with the use of sand. This includes using their hands to trace, move and shape sand into what they want to express.
- Talk therapy
The therapist helps the individual understand how negative thought patterns may be affecting their mood, and learn how to make positive changes in their thoughts and behaviours.
Education and group services
Our education and training services support individuals with a co-existing developmental disability and mental illness, family members, caregivers, community partners and other professionals.
Our education groups include:
Dealing with feelings of anxiety or depression groups
There are two different groups to support individuals who are experiencing feelings of anxiety or depression; one for individuals and one for caregivers.
Participants will learn how to:
- Feel more relaxed.
- Express and understand anxious and depressed feelings.
- Be more calm and to cope better with feelings of anger, fear and sadness.
Families and support people will learn how to:
- Best support their loved ones/clients as they learn to manage their feelings more effectively.
- Put newly learned skills into practice with their loved ones/clients.
- Support their loved ones/clients to use the skills they have learned to help them to successfully manage feelings.
Healthy relationships group
Participants will learn about social skills, talk about dating, friendships and how to be safe in these relationships, in a relaxed, conversational atmosphere.
Sexual health group
Participants will learn about important sexual health information through discussions about what sex is, personal choice, and responsibilities of sexual relationships, emphasizing individuals’ safety and consent.
- Consultation to general practitioners and other medical professionals. Our consultations support the needs of individuals and their families.
- Support and consultation to other community services.
How do I access these services?
For ages 19 and older:
We accept referrals from the following:
- The individual
- Family doctor
- Mental health services
- Private caregivers
- Or anyone else supporting the person
Developmental disabilities services
To make a referral to our program, contact us at a developmental disabilities services office nearest to you.
Ages 12 to 18 years:
Referrals to our youth team are managed and screened by Child and Youth Special Needs Program in Ministry of Children and Family Development (CYSN/MCFD).
All referrals to DDMHS require a recent physical examination and approval by the individual’s family doctor.
A psychological evaluation (example the persons level of understanding and processing information) is required before the person comes to our program. These testings are not done by our program. Psychological testing/evaluation can be done through the following agencies:
Download and complete your referral form for Development Disabilities Mental Health Services.277.82 KBUpdated 22/07/2021
Download and complete your referral form for the Dealing with Feelings Group.127.76 KBUpdated 23/01/2020
Download and complete your referral form for the Healthy Relationships Group.126.83 KBUpdated 23/01/2020
Download and complete your referral form for the Sexual Health Group.127.53 KBUpdated 23/01/2020
- Provincial Assessment Centre (PAC)
Provides in-patient multi-disciplinary mental health assessment and recommendations to individuals ages 14 and up with a developmental disability and a concurrent mental illness or behaviour issues.
- Community Living British Columbia (CLBC)
Crown agency provides funding for services that help adults with developmental disabilities. Offers list of programs, information on applying for grants and news.
- Ministry of Children and Family Development: Children and Youth with Special Needs (MCFD/CYSN)
Funds a range of programs and services for children and youth with special needs and their families, including information on housing, day programs and support services.
- Child and Teen Mental Health
CYMH provides a wide range of community-based specialized mental health services to mentally ill children and their families.
- Services to Adults with Developmental Disabilities (STADD)
Transition planning for youth and young adults with developmental disabilities..
- Vancouver Community Rehabilitation and Resource Team
The Rehab and Resource Team is a team of health care professionals. We provide short-term six-month rehabilitation programs for individuals with complex disabilities who live in Vancouver.
- Developmental Disabilities Mental Health British Columbia Advance Practice (DDMHBC)
Education for caregivers and professionals on topics relating to intellectual disabilities and mental health.
- Autism Community Training (ACT)
ACT is an information and referral service that supports individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and their families across B.C.