Draft guidance attempts to plug gaps between mental health and drug misuse services in Wales

Welsh Government consults on guidance to help healthcare professionals address the needs of people with substance misuse as well as mental health problems

The Welsh Government has launched a consultation on guidance designed to ensure people with a mental health and substance misuse problem receive the treatment they need.

The service framework will support healthcare professionals in addressing the needs of people with mental health and substance misuse problems, ensuring services are integrated for adults as well as children and young people.

The guidance covers a number of areas, including prevention and early intervention, good communication and taking a person-centred approach to care.

People with both a substance misuse and a mental health problem are at heightened risk of suicide, more likely to encounter gaps between services and are less likely to engage with treatment interventions.

Up to three in four people in Wales who misuse drugs also have a mental health problem and more than half of those with substance misuse problems are diagnosed with a mental health disorder at some point in their lives.

According to figures published in the National Confidential Inquiry into Suicide and Homicide by People with Mental Illness annual report in July last year, there were 119 patient suicides between 2001 and 2012 among people with severe mental illness as well as alcohol or drug dependence or misuse.

Welsh deputy health minister Vaughan Gething said: ‘People with both a substance misuse and mental health problem frequently have complex needs that need a co-ordinated approach from a range of primary and secondary care services, delivered in both statutory and non-statutory settings.’

The consultation closes on April 23. To view the guidance, click here.

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