Dual diagnosis discourse in Victoria Australia: the responsiveness of mental health services.J Dual Diagn 2014; 10(3):139-44JD
In recent decades, psychiatric services have been challenged to be more responsive to patients' coexisting problems, in particular those concerning substance use. In Australia this has been referred to as a "No Wrong Door" approach. This paper explores the meanings of this move for the acute mental health sector, including attitudes toward a No Wrong Door approach to people with a dual diagnosis of mental illness and substance use disorder.
This qualitative study involved a review of the research literatures, analysis of policy documents, and interviews with 19 key informants in a case study of the State of Victoria, Australia.
The analysis resulted in two broad themes surrounding the implications of dual diagnosis discourse for the mental health sector. The first involves progress regarding the concept of No Wrong Door with subthemes including interprofessional cultural conflicts, intersectoral professional status issues, terminology, problem definition, perspectives on serious mental illness, the role of the client, and pharmacological treatment. The second overarching theme focuses upon informants' thoughts on future directions for the sector and highlights divided opinion on the implications of dual diagnosis discourse for the mental health service and social care systems.
While the perspectives on system change and multiple issues such as resource concerns and cultural clashes are presented here, the informants in this study also gave clear guidance for the future of dual diagnosis work in the mental health sector (e.g., focusing on orienting services toward consumer strengths and recovery), along with recommendations for future research. This paper contributes to the small body of qualitative research on the history and course of efforts to develop appropriate practice in mental health services with regard to patients who have substance use problems and other mental health disorders.