Anecdotal feedback obtained from alcohol and drug and mental health staff across the eastern metropolitan region of Melbourne, Australia suggests that attitudes towards working with people experiencing a dual diagnosis are becoming more positive. The purpose of this paper is to understand if dual diagnosis-specific training delivered to staff within mental health and alcohol and other drug services was a factor positively influencing attitudes.
No formal evaluation assessing the impact of dual diagnosis-specific training on staff attitudes had previously occurred within this region of Australia. Access to staff on two occasions from three distinct sectors provided an opportunity to examine if and, to what degree, attitudes can be influenced by dual diagnosis-specific training. Using a co-designed attitudes survey, information was gathered from mental health and alcohol and drug staff on their attitudes to working with people with co-occurring mental health and substance use problems.
Two surveys were conducted involving 186 staff in 2012 and 110 staff in 2016. The dual diagnosis attitudes survey showed that positive attitudes to working with people experiencing a dual diagnosis were associated with recency of training. While attitudes may be improved by dual diagnosis training, these findings cannot exclude the impact of other dual diagnosis capacity building activities.
This study highlights the benefits of a regional partnership between mental health and alcohol and drug services and people with lived experience of dual diagnosis and the benefit of recent co-designed dual diagnosis training on longitudinally assessed worker attitudes.
The author would like to acknowledge Dr Rosemary Charleston and Associate Professor Judy Hope for their support in writing this paper.The author would also like to acknowledge the past and present members of the Eastern Dual Diagnosis Service, the Dual Diagnosis Working Group and the Dual Diagnosis Consumer and Carer Advisory Council for their contributions to the development of the Dual Diagnosis Attitudes Survey.
Foster, G. (2020), "“The dual diagnosis attitudes survey”: understanding the attitudinal impact of training across mental health and alcohol and drug service systems", Advances in Dual Diagnosis, Vol. 13 No. 4, pp. 137-149. https://doi.org/10.1108/ADD-05-2020-0004
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