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Dual diagnosis for addiction and mental health problems

People suffering from mental illness and substance abuse issues have reported a marked improvement through the intervention of the drug and alcohol rehabilitation charity Westminster Drug Project (WDP). 

The charity, launched in August 2011, has supported a 60% improvement in the mental health of people accessing its dual diagnosis programme Linked In. Funded by Lloyds TSB Foundation for England and Wales, the specialist service improves access to drug and alcohol services and provides integrated support for mental health and addiction. 

As many as half of all people with mental health problems also have substance misuse issues, it is estimated. The WDP is marking Mental Health Awareness Week 2013, the yearly campaign run by the Mental Health Foundation. 

Yasmin Batliwala, chair of WDP, and a contributor to PSE, said: “WDP’s experience shows that a majority of people who access drug and alcohol treatment services also have some form of mental health problem, including anxiety and depression. Despite this prevalence, people who have the ‘dual diagnosis’ of mental health problems and substance misuse often face huge barriers to accessing help. 

“Thank to the Linked In workers, WDP has also developed a mental health training programme for its workforce and we have now appointed dual diagnosis leads in all our services. These leads receive specialist training in working with dual diagnosis clients and support their teams to provide more effective help to this vulnerable group of service users. 

“WDP believes it is essential for all substance misuse services to train its practitioners on mental health awareness to help them deal with service users who have a dual diagnosis. In turn we want to see more mental health services being trained on substance misuse problems so fewer people fall through the cracks.”

Tell us what you think – have your say below, or email us directly at [email protected]


Janet Ruff   13/05/2013 at 17:02

It is good to know that more people are being trained on this serious problem of substance misuse that go hand in hand with mental illness and its devastating effects. My dear mother who was the kindest person had terrible mental health issues and no support network when she was out of hospital.

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