Co-occurring mental health and AOD Project

Co-occurring Project

Read a summary snapshot of our co-occurring capacity project report's findings here from the WA Primary Health Alliance which funded this project.

Despite the fact that 63 per cent of people who misuse substances have some sort of mental health challenge, it is the experience of many people that service providers are not well equipped to support them with the complexity that arises from this.

WAAMH has completed a project exploring practical ways service providers working in the mental health sector can recognise and support a person with co-occurring mental health and alcohol & other drug problems. WAAMH is working with mental health community service providers to help them use the toolkit to offer appropriate comorbidity services.

Historically, people with both mental health issues and alcohol and drug problems have often bounced around services because there are very few that are equipped to truly support the whole person.

Staff often feel that treating the mental health issue or the substance problems in isolation of each other, it has been missing the bigger picture or that person’s experience, hampering their recovery.

It is widely documented that people with co-occurring issues have poorer general mental and physical health, higher rates of suicide, homelessness, hospitalisation and relapse. In order to have the right foundations in place for a person to start their recovery journey, it’s crucial address both mental health and alcohol and other drug problems concurrently.

For more information on WAAMH's co-occurring projects, please contact Policy Officer Colin Penter on 

Resources on co-occurring mental and AOD problems

Barrett, E., Mills, K., Dudley, L., Holmes, D., Conroy, C., Teesson, M., Kay-Lambkin, F. Lived experience of Australians with mental health and AOD comorbidity and their perspectives on integrated treatment, newparadigm Summer 2018-2019.

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