Multimorbidities: learning and mental health
Mental health and behavioural problems are six times more likely in individuals with learning difficulties, and close to half of all children accessing mental health services have poor reading and communication skills. This comorbidity is evident in our group’s work with the CALM cohort. We have shown that children referred for learning problems have elevated levels of markers of behavioural disorders (Bathelt et al. 2018), mental health problems, and social communication difficulties (Hawkins et al., 2016, Bryant et al., 2019; Mareva et al., 2019). Despite evidence for the intersectionality of learning and mental health difficulties, the two fields have developed separately. In our new programme of work we are developing parallel streams of investigation to advance our knowledge of the chain of cause and effect that mechanistically links mental health and learning problems by studying common and distinct cognitive, neural and environmental factors.