Public Health England (PHE) has published Better care for people with co-occurring mental health and alcohol/drug use conditions: a guide for commissioners and service providers.

Research has shown that mental health problems are experienced by 70% of drug users and 80% of alcohol users within community substance misuse treatment services. Furthermore, evidence suggests that people with co-occurring conditions have a heightened risk of other health problems and early death, and that people with co-occurring conditions are often unable to access the care they need from both mental health and addiction services.

The PHE guide should be used by commissioners and providers of mental health and substance misuse treatment services, to inform the commissioning and provision of effective care for patients with co-occurring conditions. It aims to support local areas to commission timely and effective responses for people with co-occurring conditions, encouraging commissioners and service providers to work together to improve access to services which can:

  • reduce harm
  • improve health
  • enhance recovery
  • enable services to respond effectively and flexibly
  • prevent exclusion.

The guidance supports implementation of the Five year forward view for mental health and represents an action from the Mental health crisis care concordat national action plan.