The health and social care organisation Turning Point has launched a new guide for practitioners supporting people with coexisting substance use and mental health issues.
Alcohol and drugs are often used to self-medicate the symptoms of mental health problems, and in turn, these coping strategies are also likely to exacerbate feelings of depression and anxiety.
Multiple studies have found that about half of those who experience a mental illness in their lives will also experience a substance misuse disorder. In addition, research from Turning Point estimates that 70% of people in drug services and 86% of alcohol service users have experienced a severe mental health problem in the past year.
Although, despite efforts to integrate mental health and substance misuse services, increased investment continually struggles to keep up with demand.
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“It is incumbent upon all of us to do the best we can, to go that extra mile to engage those individuals that need our support the most”
The recently published Dame Carol Black review shined a light on the widening gaps between mental health and substance misuse services, causing many not to get the holistic multidiscipline care they require.
Turning Point’s Substance Use Mental Health (SUMH) Resource Pack aims to provide some answers to those gaps in care. The resource sets out a series of operating principles with which practitioners and commissioners working the community drug, alcohol, and mental health services can use to guide better practice.
A spokesperson for Turning Point, Jan Larkin, consultant clinical psychologist and the organisations head of psychology, said that currently, many people in need of support “fall through the gaps” in the multitude of available services.
She continued: “We need to make sure that people with the most complex needs do not fall through the gaps and get the support they need.”
“It is incumbent upon all of us to do the best we can, to go that extra mile to engage those individuals that need our support the most. I hope that this resource pack helps people work collaboratively and ensures that people are supported in a holistic way.”