It’s a word that we hear a lot across the Tasmanian alcohol, tobacco and other drugs sector.
Particularly in relation to the ‘integration’ of our services with mental health services.
For many, the integration of these health services intuitively makes sense, given the high rates of Australians who seek support for substance use and mental health concerns.
But, when you scratch the surface it becomes evident it’s not as straight-forward as it seems, and some of you may have tuned into last week’s webinar presentation ‘A Square Peg Into a Round Hole’ where leading AOD specialist Dr Nicole Lee joined other leaders from our sector to discuss why integration between these two sectors has been relatively unsuccessful to-date.
If you missed the presentation, I strongly encourage you to take 10 minutes to read the report that formed the basis of Nicole’s presentation.
Commissioned by the Mental Health Commission, Nicole’s report is titled ‘Exploring the place of alcohol and other drug services in the mental health system’ and is co-authored with respected AOD academic, Professor Steve Allsop from the National Drug Research Institute (Curtin University).
It’s a thought-provoking exploration into the challenges that exist, including having a shared understanding on what ‘integration’ means given that difference perspectives exist (e.g. systems, service or treatment integration).
A key argument in Nicole’s report is that there is yet to be a substantial evidence demonstrating that integration of any kind has been beneficial to the individual seeking support, the organisations providing it, or the broader system. Rather, a holistic approach to support people’s needs and maintaining specialization in both fields is essential.
If you don’t have time to read the report, you can come and hear Nicole speak to it directly when she joins the ATDC as one our key-note speakers at our 2021 Conference (9/10 June in Hobart).
We are excited to be welcoming Nicole, who will explore this issue in her presentation ‘Integrating AOD and mental health services: Are we flogging a dead horse?’
Conference registrations are now open and we look forward to releasing the full program very soon.
I look forward to seeing you there.
Chief Executive Officer