Mental Health and Substance Abuse: Connecting the Dots

Originally presented on July 17, 2014

Speakers:
Gerald Fishman, Ph.D.
Associate Dean, Union Institute & University

Raymond Bizzari
Director of Community Services at Cayguga County Health and Human Services

Mental health and substance abuse often present as co-occurring disorders during clinical encounters. The National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) estimated during 2012 that 27.3% (9.6 million) of adults with a serious mental illness (SMI) and 19.2% (8.4 million) of adults with any type of mental illness (AMI) in the United States had a co-occurring substance abuse and mental health disorder1.

Co-occurring disorders are complex, encompassing a wide array of diagnostic categories and variations in disease severity2. As a result, treatment and continuity of care for individuals with co-occurring substance abuse and mental health disorders remains a challenge. However, substance abuse recidivism and the burden of mental health disorders have been reduced through holistic, or integrated, care plans.  By improving access to care through service integration and tailored care plans, greater attention can be paid to the array of co-occurring disorder diagnostic categories and client life circumstances3. While integrated treatment and continuity of care have shown promising evidence-based results, 2012 survey data from NSDUH found only 7.9% of adults with AMI and 15.8% of adults with SMI received both mental health care and specialty treatment for substance abuse1. Guided in part by the New York State Prevention Agenda, public health groups are mobilizing collaborative initiatives among emergency first responders, mental health and community health groups to enhance prevention, awareness, and access to services for individuals with co-occurring disorders.

This webcast will determine and discuss the co-morbid relationship between mental health and substance abuse, illustrate exemplary insights from public health initiatives being implemented in New York State, and elucidate the role of public health in assisting community, state, and national entities addressing co-occurring mental health and substance abuse disorders.

Program Objectives
After watching this webcast participants will be able to:

  • Recognize social and biological connections between mental health and substance abuse disorders.
  • Describe the role of public health in preventing and reducing the burden of mental health and substance abuse co-occurring disorders.
  • Describe public health initiatives that are addressing mental health and substance abuse disorders in New York State.
  • Reference strategies, methods, and tools that are sensitive to the nuances of co-occurring disorders and can be incorporated into programmatic components, support services, and treatment plans.

1 Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (DHHS/PHS), & RTI International. (2012). Results from the 2012 National Survey on Drug Use and Health: Mental Health Findings. Retrieved from ttp://ncadi.samhsa.gov.
2 Flynn, P. M., & Brown, B. S. (January 01, 2008). Co-occurring disorders in substance abuse treatment: issues and prospects. Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment, 34, 1, 36-47.
3 Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. (2009). Integrated Treatment for Co-Occurring Disorders. Retrieved from http://store.samhsa.gov/product/Integrated-Treatment-for-Co-Occurring-Disorders-Evidence-Based-Practices-EBP-KIT/SMA08-4367

This program was supported with funding from: