Department of Health

Recommendation 35

Improving outcomes for people living with mental illness and substance use or addiction

What the Royal Commission said 

The Royal Commission recommended that all mental health and wellbeing services across all age-based systems, including crisis services, community based services and bed-based services:

  • provide integrated treatment, care and support to people living with mental illness and substance use or addiction
  • do not exclude consumers living with substance use or addiction from accessing treatment, care and support.

What are the opportunities

Implementing recommendation 35 will mean that people with co-occurring mental illness and substance use or addiction and their families and supporters have access to integrated treatment, care and support in a variety of settings consistent with their needs, strengths and preferences. 

To achieve this, the mental health and wellbeing and the AOD systems will remain distinct but will work more closely together, based on a shared understanding of best practice for integrated treatment, care and support.

What are we doing

Working in partnership with people with lived and living experience and their families and supporters, service providers and workers, the Department of Health (the department) has developed Integrated treatment, care and support for people with co-occurring mental illness and substance use or addiction needs: Guidance for Victorian mental health and wellbeing and alcohol and drug services (the Guidance). 

Read the Guidance

The Guidance contains 11 expectations for service providers – underpinned by four principles – to guide the delivery of integrated treatment, care and support. 

In addition to the Guidance we have also prepared:

  • a summary form of the Guidance 
  • a series of brief illustrative stories that aim to bring to life the future experiences of people with co-occurring mental illness and substance use or addiction and their families and supporters.

Learn about how the Guidance will inform other reform work

Achieving the Royal Commission’s vision for people with co-occurring mental illness and substance use or addiction and their families and supporters requires that integrated treatment, care and support is embedded across a range of reforms. 

The Workplan: Integrated Treatment, Care and Support (the Workplan) describes how related system reforms intersect with, promote and contribute to the integrated treatment, care and support agenda.

In addition to the whole of system reform work, ongoing effort is required to support the implementation of the Guidance. Future work will build on the Guidance to support services and workers on the journey to integrated practice. 

Learn about our engagement approach 

In developing the Guidance, the department consulted widely with people with lived and living experience and their families and supporters, workers and services providers across the mental health and wellbeing and AOD sectors. Details on the department’s engagement approach are outlined below.

Reviewed 14 July 2022

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