Guidance launched for mental health patients who have substance misuse problems

Mental health tsar Louis Appleby today launched new guidance aimed at improving care received by mental health patients who have a drug or alcohol problem.

Mentally ill people with substance misuse problems are more likely to take their own lives, get involved with the criminal justice system and are mor elikely to be hospitalised.

The guidance focusses on the care provided in in-patient settings and makes a number of recommendations including:-

* All mental health clinical staff should have the skills to assess patients with drug and alcohol problems

* Mental health and substance misuse services should become more integrated

A new resource for health professionals to use with patients has been launched to make patients more aware of the risks of drug abuse.

Louis Appleby said: “We want to ensure that dual diagnosis patients do not miss out on the care they need because mental health services and drug treatment services are not joined-up. We have already done much to ensure that both services work more closely together, and this guidance builds on this.”

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