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Videos Start Talk on Alcohol & other Drug and Mental Health Services

Tuesday, 9 September 2014

With the Drug and Alcohol Office and the Mental Health Commission in Western Australia set to amalgamate next month, the hope is that people who experience both mental health and alcohol and other drug-related issues will see better outcomes.

The WA Network of Alcohol and other Drug Agencies (WANADA) and the WA Association for Mental Health (WAAMH) are collaborating to support this goal, recently inviting alcohol and other drug and mental health service providers, consumers, family members, significant others and carers to a Cross Sector Forum with the aim of encouraging greater understanding between the two sectors.

"While alcohol and other drug and mental health services aim to improve people's health and wellbeing, their approaches differ greatly," says WANADA's Angela Corry. "Participants appreciated an opportunity to learn more about what sets the two sectors apart and what they share in common."

Alcohol and Other Drugs and Mental Health Cross Sector Forum 2014

Facilitated by Professor Margaret Hamilton AO, the first Alcohol and other Drug and Mental Health Cross Sector Forum was held in June this year. Discussion focussed on expectations and values, what the sectors share in common and where they differ.

"Participants also discussed how words can have different meanings," says Angela. "Words such as 'maintenance' and 'recovery' can have very different meanings for people who have experience in the alcohol and other drug sector compared to the mental health sector."

To prompt open discussion, WANADA produced two videos featuring people with experience of WA's alcohol and other drug and mental health services offering their perspectives.

Expectations and Values

What do people expect when they access an alcohol and other drug or mental health service in WA? Kindness and compassion rated highly... 

Commonalities and Differences

What do alcohol and other drug services have in common with mental health services? What's different? The need to reduce stigma and discrimination is just one of the common themes to emerge...

Future Directions

WANADA and WAAMH have now committed to future collaboration, based on feedback from the forum.

"We've committed to supporting greater consumer participation, to reducing stigma and discrimination related to alcohol and other drug use and mental health and to hosting future forums," says Angela. "We'll also be following how the amalgamation of the Drug and Alcohol Office and the Mental Health Commission affects services so that we can help to ensure that the change brings with it improvements."

More information about the forum and future collaboration can be found in the Alcohol and other Drug and Mental Health Cross Sector Forum Summary Report (August 2014).

More Information

For more information about WANADA and WAAMH's collaborative work, or future Cross Sector Forums, please contact WANADA on (08) 6365 6365 or via drugpeak@wanada.org.au.

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