Complex Needs Initiative

Intellectual / Developmental Disability (IDD) & Mental Health Supports

Alberta Health Services, in partnership with the Government of Alberta, Disability Services – Persons with Developmental Disabilities (PDD), are working together to help adults with an intellectual/developmental disability and mental health concern/illness plus complex service needs receive the care they need through a coordinated and integrated support system.

It is both Alberta Health Service’s and the Alberta Government’s goal to make sure adults with dual diagnoses and complex service needs are supported.

Complex Service Needs | Community Support Teams | News | Education & Resources

Complex Service Needs

For the purpose of this Initiative, Adults with Complex Service Needs are defined as, individuals who are 18 or older and have a developmental/intellectual disability. They are eligible for services from the PDD program, as well as those services from other ministries which are available to all Albertans. These adults pose a significant risk, and/or are destructive, to themselves, others or property. They require intensive services and have, or have had a history of one or more of the following diagnoses or life experiences:

  • Mental health disorder
  • Terminations from other social support services
  • Specialized treatment for psychiatric and/or behavioural issues
  • Multi-system involvement (example Corrections, Health, Human Services etc.)
  • Incarceration(s) or criminal justice involvement
  • Chronic substance abuse/dependency problems

More Information

Community Support Teams

Community Support Teams (CST) specialize in helping individuals with a dual diagnosis (intellectual/developmental disability and mental health concern/illness) and complex service needs. Each team is uniquely constructed according to resource availability and regional need and may include clinicians such as mental health therapist, psychologist, nurse, occupational therapist, behaviour therapist, social worker, therapy assistant or others.


Education & Resources


  • Suicide Prevention, Risk Assessment & Management (SPRAM)
  • Support Individuals with Intellectual Disabilities and Mental Illness 
    ​This 1.5-2 hour eLearning was created with community team members in mind. The module will help inform practical and useful basics of mental health focused support for those working alongside of individuals with developmental disabilities.  Completion of this learning prepares direct service team members learn:
    • About the value and Summarize the essence of support, focusing on a community support worker role
    • About unmet needs
    • To identify symptoms of some common mental health disorders
    • The importance of applying: Observation, Response, Documentation and Teamwork to the essence of support work
    • Ideas about steps you can take when proposing and supporting a visit to a health professional
    • About some factors that can affect health status
    • About your role, as a community support worker, in assisting a person with their health and wellness needs.
  • Trauma Training Initiative