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Mental health policy implementation guide: Dual diagnosis good practice guide

  • Document type:
  • Author:
    Department of Health
  • Published date:
    2 May 2002
  • Primary audience:
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  • Copyright holder:
    Crown Copyright

Supporting someone with a mental health illness and substance misuse problems - alcohol and/or drugs - is one of the biggest challenges facing frontline mental health services. The complexity of issues makes diagnosis, care and treatment more difficult, with service users being at higher risk of relapse, readmission to hospital and suicide. One of the main difficulties is that there are a number of agencies involved in a person's care - mental health services and specialist rehabilitation services, organisations in the statutory and voluntary sector. As a result care can be fragmented and people can fall down the cracks. The guidance provides a framework within which staff can strengthen services so that they have the skills and organisation to tackle this demanding area of work. The authors key message is that substance misuse is already part of mainstream mental health services and this is the right place for skills and services to be. Mental health services must also work closely with specialist substance misuse services to ensure that care is well co-ordinated. The authors have also highlighted some existing examples ofexcellent services working well now. This guidance and the services mentioned, demonstrate the importance of effective leadership at a local level and rigorous training programmes to help staff maintain high standards of service delivery. Cites numerous references. [Book abstract]

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