The Indigenous Dual Diagnosis Project
Number 7.10 April 2009
The Indigenous Dual Diagnosis Project is attempting to increase the coordination and collaboration between alcohol and other drug and mental health services, develop and facilitate culturally appropriate and relevant dual diagnosis training and resources, and build capacity in the Aboriginal workforce.
The Indigenous Dual Diagnosis Project, funded by the Department of Human Services, is based at the Victorian Dual Diagnosis Education and Training Unit (VDDETU) of St Vincent’s Hospital.
Key themes and findings from the consultation
1. Conduct training for mental health/social and emotional wellbeing workers and alcohol and other drug workers together.
Dual diagnosis training is important for all health and welfare workers regardless of their specialty.
Community education around dual diagnosis is also important. Families and parents are often the ones caring for their loved one and dealing with issues that are difficult to understand.
2. All new workers receive an introduction to dual diagnosis training
Providing ongoing training with a similar message would enable new workers to engage in training and would help to ensure some consistency across different organisations about the kind of treatment clients received.
3. Access to mainstream mental health services
4. The stigma of mental health issues
5. Access to detoxification and rehabilitation services
Access to specialist alcohol and other drug services can be limited in some locations, especially in rural and remote areas. Clients may have to wait long periods before they can attend a service and may also have to travel long distances to reach it. Clients may experience the added pressure of feeling isolated when away from families and community.
6. Aboriginal workers are a “one-stop-shop”
Many Aboriginal workers work holistically. They may feel they have to know about everything, especially how to make good referrals and link clients into appropriate services.
7. Importance of understanding the relationship between loss, grief and trauma, and mental health and alcohol and other drug use
Mental health and alcohol and other drug use cannot be looked at in isolation. It is important to recognise the impact of the history of loss and grief and the current losses, ongoing grief, experiences of trauma and domestic violence and racism.
8. Concerns about training and workload
The proposed training does not change people’s workload or the clients. Hopefully it will help to improve workers’ confidence when working with clients and assist them to continue to build their skills.
9. Community pressure and dealing with crises
There are both advantages and disadvantages to workers being part of the community.
The greatest advantage is that workers know most of their clients and their families, so they know who to contact if a client is having problems.
The greatest disadvantage can be the pressure put on them by the community. The community may expect the worker to be available after work hours or to cope with risky and potentially violent situations.
The Indigenous dual diagnosis training project
If you would like more information on the project please contact:
Dual Diagnosis Support Victoria
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