Donegal Alcohol Forum launches report

Dual diagnosis refers to people suffering from mental health and substance abuse disorders

By Staff Reporter

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Donegal Alcohol Forum launches report

Back row from left: Mariclare Gallagher, Fundraising and Communications; Paula Leonard, National Lead on Community action on Alcohol; Conor Bradley, Finance; Maureen McGlynn, Families Matter adminis

National guidelines on how to deal with people suffering from mental health and substance abuse disorders are needed to provide effective services for treatment, a report commissioned by a Donegal charity has found.

To mark the beginning of European Awareness Week on Alcohol Related Harm, the Alcohol Forum launched a new report on dual diagnosis.

Dual diagnosis refers to people suffering from mental health and substance abuse disorders. It is often associated with higher levels of health, social, legal, occupational and housing problems.

This year’s European Awareness Week for Alcohol Related Harm aims to get people thinking and talking about alcohol and how it affects individuals, families and communities.

One of the hidden struggles for people and families dealing with a mental illness and harmful alcohol consumption is the difficulty of getting a dual diagnosis which could unlock access to the support they need.

Mark, who for years suffered from mental health and addiction problems, said that “it was only when I was treated for both conditions together and had ongoing support from mental health and addiction services for a few years that I was able to at last have a fulfilling life.”

CEO of Alcohol Forum, Kieran Doherty said: “People working in mental health, alcohol and drug services and voluntary organisations make an incredible contribution. By being able to contribute to the existing resources out there on dual diagnosis for practitioners we can keep the conversations going on the critical need for systematic care, access to appropriate services, co-operation and collaboration between services and effective policy and practice developments and implementation.”

GP Dr Paul Stewart welcomed the report and said: “What we learn from our conversations through this report will contribute to the development of a priority list of actions on mental health.” healdrugs and alcohol in the north west and beyond that specifically targets mental illness and addiction.

Paula Leonard of the Alcohol Forum said: “The launch of the report coincides with European Awareness Week on Alcohol Related Harm which we are co-ordinating here in Ireland. This report is an excellent resource for any practitioners in the fields of mental health and addiction.

“We could not have completed this report without the expertise of Ms Danguole Garbare, author and the support from the HSE Mental Health and Addiction Service and Nursing Midwifery Planning and Development Unit Donegal.”