University Of Tasmania

File(s) under permanent embargo

Views of Australian mental health stakeholders on clients’ problematic drug and alcohol use

journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-18, 18:51 authored by Cleary, M, Hunt, GE, Matheson, S, Walter, G

Introduction and Aims: Substance misuse by people with a serious mental illness may exacerbate psychiatric symptoms and contribute to relapse. The aim of the study was to ascertain the views of a wide range of Australian mental health service providers on staff education and training, client contact and management, assessment, and treatment effectiveness and service delivery.

Design and Methods: A survey was sent to a sample of 171 mental health stakeholders in Australia identified through internet searches, state and territory mental health departments and professional organisations.

Results: Of the 66 respondents (39% response rate), the substances identified to be most problematic were alcohol and cannabis. Integrated service models of treatment were identified as the most preferable and effective.Barriers to treatment included client motivation to reduce substance use, poor communication and coordination between treatment services, and lack of specific services for dual diagnosis clients. Almost all indicated a need for further training in the area of dual diagnosis.

Discussion and Conclusions: Dual diagnosis is common and the reality is that this vulnerable clientele will continue to challenge service providers and treatment approaches into the foreseeable future. Issues include the organization and delivery of treatment services, education and training, resource allocation, collaboration between treatment agencies and clinically relevant research evaluating the effectiveness of practice. It is thus surprising that with so much investment in this area the majority of stakeholders are still dissatisfied with access to and the level of care for dual diagnosis clients.


Publication title

Drug and Alcohol Review








School of Health Sciences


Carfax Publishing

Place of publication

United Kingdom

Rights statement

Copyright 2009 Australasian Professional Society on Alcohol and other Drugs

Repository Status

  • Restricted

Socio-economic Objectives

Mental health

Usage metrics

    University Of Tasmania