About This Site

Twice a year, DBHDD selects a group of employees to participate in its prestigious Management Academy, which was established through a partnership with the University of Georgia’s Carl Vinson Institute of Government. The Academy was created to cultivate the leadership skills of current managers within the Department in support of its vision and mission of easy access to high quality, accountable, and effective care within a dynamic healthcare environment. Participants in the Academy are tasked with a capstone project spearheaded by a member of leadership within the Department. The projects are created with high level Departmental needs in mind. This website is the result of the project assignment below:

“Addressing the Needs of Dually Diagnosed Individuals in Georgia: There is a need to improve DBHDD (and provider networks’) ability to address individuals who are dually diagnosed with behavioral health and I/DD. Our service systems are traditionally siloed. While dually diagnosed individuals represent a small number of individuals served, they present complex issues that have a dramatic impact on resources and effort. How can our hospital and community based systems improve delivery of care to this special population? What are other states doing? Does research provide guidance for best practices?”

Since the ADA settlement in 2010, much work has been done to reduce the number of Georgians with I/DD residing in institutions and ensure adequate community supports are provided upon their transition. An important and challenging component of this work has been meeting the needs of people with both I/DD and mental health issues. Due to their co-occurring I/DD and mental illness, individuals who are dually diagnosed face many challenges which affect their wellbeing and make it more difficult to have a meaningful life in the community.

According to National Core Indicator data, individuals with I/DD are 3-5 times more likely to exhibit challenging behaviors (such as self-injurious, destructive, and/or disruptive behaviors) and require additional supports to manage those behaviors1. Analysis of data on individuals requiring these additional supports finds they are:

  • Less likely to participate in paid community or facility-based activities than their counterparts
  • More likely to report feeling fearful in their home, neighborhood, and/or day program
  • More likely to report dissatisfaction with their home
  • Less likely to have opportunities to make choices (e.g. Residence, housemates, activities, schedule, purchases, etc.)
  • More likely to report feeling lonely and lacking friends1

After much consideration and investigation of the work already being done statewide to improve services for dually diagnosed individuals and after further examining the unique needs and challenges they face, it was decided that a website would be an effective way to disseminate information and education on research based best practices. The targeted audience for the site would be families, community providers, and healthcare professionals who could access the site at any time and find information specific to the needs of the individuals for whom they care.

Goals of the site:

  1. To create an access point for families, caregivers, community providers, and healthcare professionals to obtain information about dual diagnosis and the complex needs of people  who have co-occurring intellectual/developmental disabilities and behavioral health needs
  2. To improve the quality of supports and care provided to people with dual diagnosis through the dissemination of information to those most able to translate knowledge into action
  3. To assist families, caregivers, providers, and healthcare professionals to mitigate the challenges of supporting and caring for people with dual diagnosis
  4. To promote fiscally responsible use of services and supports through the implementation of research based best practices to make care and support of dually diagnosed people more cost effective, thereby enabling the Georgia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities and other organizations to serve as many people as possible

As you navigate this site, we hope you find that it assists you in improving the lives of the dually diagnosed individuals for whom you care. DBHDD is continually working to improve the lives of all individuals with IDD and/or behavioral health diagnoses through the provision of the highest quality care and services.

[1] Hiersteiner, D. and Engler, J. (2014, Sep 11). Supporting Individuals with I/DD and Co-Occurring Mental Health Needs. [Webinar]. National Association of State Directors of Developmental Disabilities Services Webinar. Retrieved 8 July, 2015 from http://www.nationalcoreindicators.org/resources/presentations/

The Filling-the-GAP, Georgia Access Point website may contain hypertext links to other sites on the Internet. The Georgia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities (DBHDD) is not responsible for the content, quality, or accuracy of any off-site materials referenced or linked through the website. By using the Filling-the-GAP website, the user acknowledges and accepts that the DBHDD is not responsible for any materials stored on other Internet sites, nor it is liable for any inaccurate, defamatory, offensive, or illegal materials found on other Internet sites, and that the risk of injury from viewing, hearing, downloading, or storing such materials rests entirely with the user. Links from the Filling-the-GAP website to other sites on the Internet do not constitute an endorsement or recommendation by the state of Georgia or DBHDD. These links are provided for informational purposes only. It is the responsibility of the user to evaluate the content, quality, and accuracy of materials or information obtained from other sites. DBHDD is not responsible for the contents of any "off-site" web page referenced from this server.