Our Mental Health Support For People In Recovery For Substance Misuse report found that many respondents in North Somerset found it nearly impossible to get help for their mental health problems because of their addictions.
Figures from Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs or ACMD show that 70 per cent of people in England with drug misuse problems and 86 per cent of those with alcohol misuse issues have mental health problems. However, despite this, we found people could not easily get help with their 'dual diagnosis' and as a result struggled to recover.
Our focus groups and survey found that many people had also been treated differently because of their addiction by professionals (74 per cent).
In total, 30 people took part in the survey. The findings were based on the survey responses and focus group discussions with people with lived-experience.
76 per cent of respondents to our survey said they had relapsed and the main reason for this was not having mental health issues addressed.
80 per cent of respondents also told us they had negative experiences with their GP.
During the focus group discussions for our survey, a common theme was the relationship between addiction, mental health and trauma especially during childhood. For one client, help to understand his childhood experiences also helped recovery from drinking.
1. North Somerset partners should develop, agree, and implement a Dual Diagnosis strategy to address the inequality faced by people with concurrent mental health and substance misuse problems.
2. Ensure that local substance misuse services receive sufficient funds to expand their provision for any individual in North Somerset with substance misuse and low-level mental health problems, to focus on person-centred and informed treatment.
3. Ensure access to NHS commissioned adult mental health services for any individual with dual diagnosis in order to prevent exclusion and offer non-judgmental care based on their needs.
4. Services should provide joined-up (integrated) local support including NHS, voluntary sector, social care services and specialist care providers to provide a support pathway for people with concurrent mental health and substance misuse problems to be able to access housing and employment opportunities.
5. Strengthen the workforce focus on skills, understanding and trauma informed practices to address ACEs (Adverse Childhood Experiences) and long-term mental health conditions among the health services.
6. Ensure health and social care professionals workforce training around discrimination and stigma to create a culture of empathy around drug & alcohol dependency.