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Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Guidelines on the management of co-occurring mental health conditions in alcohol and other drug treatment settings: how useful are they

There has been a growing literature documenting the high prevalence of co-occurring mental health disorders among clients of substance use treatment services and the challenges clinicians face when treating comorbid clients.

To assist alcohol and other drug (AOD) workers in working with these clients, the Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing funded the development of ‘Guidelines on the management of co-occurring alcohol and other drug and mental health conditions in alcohol and other drug treatment settings.’ Too often guidelines are produced but not evaluated.

The present study aimed to examine the extent to which this resource is perceived to be relevant and useful to clinical practice.

Ninety-seven AOD workers from across Australia completed an online survey. A series of questions asked respondents to rate the relevance and usefulness of the Guidelines to their clinical practice.

Overall, the responses received were overwhelmingly positive. The vast majority of respondents perceived the Guidelines to be relevant and useful to their clinical practice. Almost all respondents (91%) indicated that they will use some of the things they learnt from the Guidelines in their work.

The findings indicate that the Guidelines are an acceptable resource to the AOD field, and have broad applicability across AOD workers representing a range of occupations, from various service types in different geographic locations, who service a variety of client groups.

The findings are encouraging, and suggest that the Guidelines may have the potential to lead to improvements in a treatment provision.

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