Substance misuse brief interventions during psychiatric hospital admissions

Hermine L Graham ( University of Birmingham Birmingham United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland )
Emma Jean Griffith ( University of Bath Bath United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland )
Alex Copello ( University of Birmingham Birmingham United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland )
Max Birchwood ( University of Warwick Warwick Medical School Coventry United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland )

Advances in Dual Diagnosis

ISSN: 1757-0972

Publication date: 2 July 2016



To provide a summary of the principles, theories and basic components of a recently developed brief integrated motivational intervention (BIMI) for working with individuals experience co-ccurring severe mental health and substance use problems in inpatient settings, including the outcomes of a feasiblity randomised controlled trial (RCT). There are greater financial costs and a negative impact on functioning associated with psychiatric admissions for people who experience co-occurring severe mental heath and substance misuse problems. In addition, their engagement in treatment is often problematic.


The BIMI described was evaluated via a feasibility RCT that assessed whether the opportunity to discuss use of substances whilst on an inpatient ward represented an opportunity to engage inpatients in thinking about their use and the impact it has on their mental health.


The BIMI is delivered in short burst sessions of 15-30 minutes over a two-week period adopting a simple 3-step approach that can be delivered by routine ward staff. It incorporates an assessment of substance use, mental health and motivation followed by personalised feedback, a focus on increasing awareness of the impact on mental health and development of goals and a change plan. The intervention has been shown to lead to higher levels of engagement in clients exploration of substance use and the impact on mental health. Findings suggest both staff and inpatients found the intervention feasible and acceptable.


Routine ward staff were trained to deliver a brief intervention to inpatients during an acute hospital admission.


Graham, H.L., Griffith, E.J., Copello, A. and Birchwood, M. (2016), "Substance misuse brief interventions during psychiatric hospital admissions", Advances in Dual Diagnosis, Vol. 9 No. 2/3.



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