A bill which will link addiction services and mental health services in the state is being introduced today.
Called the Dual Diagnosis:No Wrong Door Bill, the legislation seeks to make sure a person with an addiction and mental health issue are treated regardless of the health sector they seek help in.
Sinn Féin spokesperson for Mental Health, Mark Ward TD and spokesperson for Addiction, Tommy Gould TD will today introduce the bill.
Dual diagnosis refers to people who present for treatment that have substance misuse and mental health conditions.
Deputy Ward said the bill is “an extremely important piece of legislation.”
“It aims to plug the gaps in services that exist between mental health and addiction. Often as not people who have a Dual Diagnosis fall between these gaps,” he says.
“Addiction and mental health often go hand in hand. An addiction may lead to the onset of mental health issues.
“A mental health issue can lead to people using substances as a coping mechanism.
“Because of the inadequacies in the mental health system, people can turn to drink and drugs to give calm to an anxious inner world.
“And this is where problems can occur. The mental health problems are still there but so too are addiction problems.
“This bill calls for, that no matter what door the person knocks on for help for addiction and mental health problems that they are treated with dignity,” he says.
Deputy Ward says that the bill will make sure that there is “no wrong door” a person seeking help can knock on.
“A joint care plan between addiction and mental health services needs to be developed to make sure people get the care they need , when they need it, where they need it.
“There can be no wrong door for dual diagnosis treatment.”
Deputy Gould said he has meeting “addiction services on the ground for months now and this is an issue raised by almost every single one.
“When somebody in active addiction with mental health issues reaches out for help, no door should be shut in their face.
“Compassion, empathy and understanding are at the core of many of our addiction services.
“Unfortunately, they are not resourced or supported to deal with dual diagnosis.
“This legislation will progress the provision of dual diagnosis services across the state.
It will also hopefully have a knock-on effect for individualised case management plans,” he says.
“We need to recognise that addiction is not a stand-alone issue. Wraparound supports and services are the only way to properly help people succeed in their recovery.”