Safety First – Ensuring Safety When Aggression Happens

Understanding One Part of Intellectual Disability and Behavioral Health Challenges.

As an organization developed to support people with intellectual disabilities and behavioral health challenges, we pride ourselves on being person-centered and committed to creating opportunities, providing choice and support, and promoting recovery to enhance all aspects of people’s lives.

In some cases the people we support do have risk factors for aggression in certain situations. Because of this our staff are trained in protocol and procedures which include calling local support agencies, and if necessary, the local police. This protocol exists solely for the safety of the people we support and our staff.

Organizations like Skills and the community must work together to alleviate misunderstandings about aiding people with intellectual disabilities and behavioral health challenges. It is part of our mission to educate and create processes that allow our teams to call for outside assistance without it appearing negative to those who may witness; or hear about these actions.

While many studies, articles, and support services exist and educate on aggression in intellectual disabilities and behavioral health challenges, it remains a mostly taboo subject. Shedding light on not only the fact that these incidences do occur, but that the processes put in place to properly handle these situations are necessary and effective; will make a world of difference as we work towards community support and integration for all.

There are many outside resources available for the community to educate themselves on this issue. As one article so aptly states, “without a realistic understanding of this risk, practitioners can neither provide the best care for their patients nor ensure their own safety when the situation warrants it.” This need for realistic understanding exists not only at the level of the practitioner – but for all care givers, teachers, volunteers, and family. It is common for people to look at and accept all symptoms and side effects of other physical health issues, but when it comes to behavioral health, the community at large tends to steer away from this discussion and education. Aggression is a symptom, and can be part of both intellectual disabilities and behavioral health challenges.

The more we shed light on all symptoms and issues surrounding the people we support, the services we provide, and the support we need to accomplish our mission; the stronger we become as an organization at large.

We all become part of the solution through proper education and understanding.