Mental Health Services

Mental health services are often the first point of treatment for many people suffering from substance abuse problems and their families. Community or government run mental health centers provide a level of care to those who may not have the opportunity or finances to be able to get the social support they need. Mental health services are provided to treat people who suffer from mental illness in a community cetting rather than in a psychiatric hospital. Care ranges from supervision, day centers, self-help groups, supported housing and generalised care. Substance abuse is often linked to mental health services due to a co-occuring disorders and also from a lack of other appropriate care.

Substance abuse problems are often linked with mental health services due to a lack of other appropriate care options. However, this poses many problems for individuals who suffer only from a mental illness or only from a substance abuse problem. Combined services are effective at providing a high level of care and treatment to dual diagnosed indivdual but are usually inappropriate for others. Additionally, resources provided through government-supported mental health centers are often overstretched and under-funded which can cause many limitations on availaibilty.

Dual Diagnosis and Substance Abuse

Mental illness and substance abuse often go hand in hand. Depression , anxiety, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, psychosis and other serious mental illnessess are known to have a link to substance abuse. In some cases, the mental illness may be caused by the use of drugs and alcohol, such in the case of psychosis.

When a mental illness and substance abuse problems occur together, this poses many challenges for health services. For individuals who suffer only from mental illness, sharing services and hospital rooms with drug or alcohol addicts can cause friction, unease and fear in some patients. Substance abusing individuals may be recieveing treatment for the physical symptoms of their addiction when they should be recieveing treatment for the bigger mental health problem.

Challenges for Health Workers

A significant issue that arises in mental health services when a substance abuser is in need of care is the lack of skilled workers available to help. Mental health is a broad area of specialisation that a can have a diverse range of focus areas including children and family health, counselling services or social work. Many mental health workers do not have skills or knowledge of how to appropriately recognize and treat a person who is suffering from the effects of drugs or alcohol.

Drug and alcohol workers are specifically trained individuals who understand the complex and diverse issues around substance abuse. The role of these individual is to assess the needs of substance abusers and provide adequate support and options to them in their path of recovery. Referral to appropriate services including medical assistance is one of the most important roles of these individuals. Specialisation in this field is something that not all mental health services provide due to funding and needs of the community. Unfortunatley, mental health care systems are usually inadequate in being able to provide the most efficent and effective treatment to individuals who suffer from a substance abuse problem

Mental Health and Substance Abuse Stigma

The stigma attached to substance abuse and mental disorders often hinders early diagnosis and proper treatment. Many people are embarrassed to seek treatment for themselves or for their loved ones as they feel that they will be judged as being a failure. Unfortunately, many people, the media, employees amd the community do still judge mental illness and substance abuse as something that happens to other people and a failure of their strength, character, family and skills. This abhorrant discrimination is not based in any fact.

Many families, individuals and commuities are affected by mental health problems. Substance abuse is one problem that This is especially true for parents who may think that other people will consider that their child’s mental health or substance abuse problem is caused or contributed to by them. However, mental illness affects many families and many people.