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Welcome to Dual Diagnosis Australia & New Zealand

Dual Diagnosis Australia & New Zealand is a resource repository created by and for people with an interest in co-occurring substance use-mental health concerns. Please contact us with your thoughts, suggestions, links and contributions.

Improved Services Initiative newsletters

11th Sept 2012: The Commonwealth’s Improved Services for People with Drug and Alcohol Problems and Mental Illness Initiative (ISI) ran from January 2007 to June 2012. The Improved Services Initiative was allocated $73.9 million to build the capacity of non-government organisations to provide best-practice services that effectively address and treat people with co-occurring mental health-substance use issues. Under a competitive grant process individual AOD services received a maximum of $500,000 to build their organisation’s capacity to respond to clients with mental health-substance use issues. 

A second component, the Cross Sectoral Support and Strategic Partnership funded state AOD peak bodies to assist services to build partnerships with other health sectors, identify workforce development opportunities and undertake service improvement activities. Amongst the multiple achievements of this component of the initiative was the regular production of a newsletter which highlighted the ISI’s diverse contributions to the Australian AOD sectors capacity to respond effectively to clients with mental health-substance use issues.


The final issue (7) of the ISI newsletter was published in July and can be downloaded here. This edition focuses on the work of the AOD peak bodies across the life of the ISI. Earlier editions of the newsletter can be downloaded below. Collectively the newsletters constitute a detailed profile of an extraordinarily successful, national contribution to effective service provision to people with co-occurring mental health-substance use issues. 


Issue 1. Spring 2009


Issue 2. Summer 2009/10


Issue 3. Winter 2010


Issue 4. Summer 2001


Issue 5. Autumn-Winter 2011


Issue 6. Spring-Summer 2011

Note that, continuing on from the achievements made under the ISI,  the Commonwealth’s 2012-13 to 2014-15, Substance Misuse Service Delivery Grants Fund has defined its initial priority area  as to 'support non-government drug and alcohol treatment services to deliver quality, evidence based services and build capacity to effectively identify and treat coinciding mental illness and substance misuse (comorbidity) through activities such as workforce training, front line service delivery, education, development of partnerships with the broader health sectors, and dissemination of best practice policies and procedures that support the identification and management of clients experiencing comorbidity’


Resource Launch: Putting together the pieces: Responding to trauma and substance use

14th August 2012: Last week, at the Victorian  ISI-VDDI conference  Brandon Jones, Manager of Education & Training at ReGen,  launched ReGens new resource: Putting together the pieces: Responding to trauma and substance use. This free, evidenced based, resource provides workers with practical skills and knowledge to assist a client to work with their trauma issues within an alcohol and other drug context.

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Putting Together the Pieces is written for clinicians in the AOD sector, but will be useful for anyone working with clients who experience both trauma and substance use issues. It provides workers with the information that will assist them to support clients to address trauma issues within a treatment context.

You can view a preview of the book and order a free copy at the ReGen websites trauma page here 


Australian Centre of Research Excellence in Mental Health and Substance Use

3rd August 2012: The National Health and Medical Research Council have allocated $2.5 million over the next five years for NDARC to establish, a world’s first, Centre of Research Excellence in Mental Health and Substance Use: Translating Innovative Prevention and Treatment. The Centre, targeting co-occurring mental illness and substance use, will be led by NDARC’s Prof Maree Teesson in collaboration with Prof Amanda Baker (Uni. of Newcastle), Prof Paul Haber (Uni.of Sydney) and A/Prof Andrew Baillie (Macquarie Uni).


“When mental health and substance use disorders occur together they are extremely difficult to treat as both conditions serve to maintain or exacerbate the other” says Professor Teesson.

“These co morbidities lead to very poor treatment outcomes and severe illness in the long term shortening lives by 20-30 years compared to people without such conditions. Treatment and prevention of these comorbid mental health and substance use disorders are one of health’s most significant challenges.

“While awareness of the extent of the problem and treatment options have increased significantly over the past few years it is still common for the substance use and the mental health problems to be treated separately. This leaves individuals on a merry-go-round of untreated disorders, the one feeding the other, leading to years of unnecessary suffering.”

NDARC’s announcement of the Centres establishment can be read here (media release here)


Journal of Mental Health and Substance Use essay competition

August 2nd 2012: The Journal of Mental Health and Substance Use has now announced the winners of its 2011 essay competition. Winning entries are  downloadable here.

They include:


Details of how to enter the journals 2012 essay competition can be found here  
Other articles for the journal may be submitted here.

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Eastern Hume Dual Diagnosis Service Dual Diagnosis Australia & New Zealand is a project of
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