It was very common for someone receiving support for drug and/or alcohol problems to also experience mental health difficulties – yet this wasn’t always reflected in the way services operated, said chief executive Julie Bass as she launched Turning Point’s new Substance use mental health (SUMH) resource pack.
There was a ‘fragmented system’ in this country that could change following Dame Carol Black’s review, she said. ‘In the meantime, we all need to go the extra mile and I hope this resource pack helps.’
Turning Point’s chair, Stephen Parker, recalled using the charity’s dual diagnosis toolkit back in 2005, ‘an exciting time when we felt like we could change the world’. Then austerity hit in 2008 bringing cuts, and fragmentation started to happen. Services were overrun and all we could do was what we were commissioned to do. ‘But it’s exciting to be working in the field at the moment,’ he said, with new opportunities to work with people with complex needs.
Developing the toolkit involved ‘bringing pathways together and looking at what’s working’ including with partnerships and other agencies, explained Jan Larkin, consultant clinical psychologist and head of psychology at Turning Point. The aim was to provide the most effective treatment for often the most vulnerable people in health and social care, and to ‘make sure people don’t fall through the gaps’. This didn’t mean ‘a tick-box exercise on trauma-informed care’ but involved ‘weaving psychological models into care’.
In ‘trying to get away from a siloed approach’, Turning Point were keen to expand their all-round training through the resource pack, which encouraged ‘keeping a wider focus than the individual’, embraced diversity, and involved supporting family members and the community. Peer mentors also had an important role in this support network, helping to deliver interventions as well as showing recovery in action.
The charity hoped that commissioners and providers of mental health and alcohol and drug services would embrace their joint responsibility to work together on shared solutions. The resource pack gave the opportunity to share learning to improve care pathways and provide quality support, and included case studies to show how good practice could be replicated in different areas.
The SUMH resource pack is available to download here