DA1023 Concurrent Disorders

January 30, 2022

Concurrent mental health and substance use disorders likely have always coexisted for many people, however, the combination of the two have only been gaining more attention in the last number of years. There is an increasing recognition that in many people’s lives the two cannot be separated. There is recognition of the need for collaboration between police services and community agencies when someone with a concurrent disorder presents for help. Although the majority of people with mental health conditions rarely come into contact with police, psychiatric emergencies do occur. In most cases, 911 is dialed and police, by virtue of their role as emergency responders, are called upon to assist in the mental health crisis. Historically, a person living with a concurrent disorder who would look for help to deal with either disorder would be shifted from one treatment setting to another. If someone with depression presented at a community addiction treatment agency looking for help with alcoholism he or she would have been asked to see mental health counselors at the community mental health agency. Once there the client would be asked to get help for the alcohol problem before coming back to the mental health agency. In the end, the person is left feeling undervalued and hopeless. This course will provide the students with information about concurrent disorders in relation to recognition and treatment. Students will gain skill in relation to asking the right questions in order to screen and conduct basic assessments for concurrent disorders. They will be able to continue working with that person while directing them to appropriate services. It’s important to have information about services available for those living with a concurrent disorder. One of the biggest barriers to accessing treatment for someone living with a concurrent disorder is the stigma associated with the disorders. We will examine this stigma and look at the ways that it turns into discrimination. We will also have the opportunity to self-examine, to allow students become aware of the stigma they carry and how they can continue to assist people in a positive and helpful way. Diversity is a basic characteristic of Canadian society, and delivering mental health and addiction services in ways that are effective, fair, inclusive, respectful and culturally competent is important. This course will enable students to play a role in eliminating the stigma faced by people with substance use and/or mental health problems, including those from diverse ethno cultural communities.

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