The Scottish Government have published the ten-year ‘Mental Health Strategy’, which will take effect from 2017-27.
The Strategy’s vision is for people to get the right help for their mental health needs, at the right time, expect recovery, and fully enjoy their rights, free from discrimination and stigma.
Over the ten years of the Strategy, there will also be work to achieve parity between mental and physical health.
Amongst 40 actions, the Strategy contains two actions which are in specific reference to alcohol and drug use:
Action 27: Test and learn from better assessment and referral arrangements in a range of settings for dual diagnosis for people with problem substance use and mental health diagnosis.
Action 28: Offer opportunities to pilot improved arrangements for dual diagnosis for people with problem substance use and mental health diagnosis.
The report states that people who have problems with alcohol and/or drug use, and who also have a mental health problem, may sometimes fall through the gaps where services are not joined up. Substance use can also affect families and carers. Integration Authorities will therefore wish to ensure that alcohol, drugs, mental health services and social services work jointly and in a holistic way so that people receive help with substance use and any underlying mental health issues.
Problem substance use and mental health issues are included in the Distress Brief Intervention design but work must be wider, addressing needs in primary care and in other parts of healthcare.