Family experience of Dual Diagnosis

Research exploring families' experiences of dual diagnosis, and developing good practice on the topic.

Year 1

Funded by the Sir Halley Stewart Trust, Adfam researched families' experiences of dual diagnosis - and developing best practice in supporting those families.

Dual diagnosis is the term used to describe people with mental health problems, who also misuse drugs or alcohol.

People affected by dual diagnosis often fall through the cracks of public services, and so do their families. Those cracks are widening as statutory services struggle to spread their ever diminishing resources. With mental health and substance misuse services coming under increased pressure, the weight placed on family members is growing, whilst the already scarce support is diminishing.

To understand how support can be better carried out we carried out detailed consultation with family members affected by a loved one’s dual diagnosis, asking the people who have lived experience of the issues to help in identifying the most needed, and most appropriate, support for them.

Our findings have been published in a research report. Download the full report here. Download the executive summery here.

Year 2

Utilising the knowledge gained from year one about the impact of dual diagnosis on families, we set up a monthly peer support & advocacy group in London to:

  • offer peer support in a friendly and safe space
  • develop an exciting advocacy programme to engage and influence key decision makers

Year 3

Our monthly peer support and advocacy group  moved onto Zoom during COVID-19. This has now ended. 

We have produced a toolkit for families affected by co-occurring conditions. It contains resources and suggestions for anyone affected by someone else's co occurring conditions. Much of the information is drawn from guidance from professionals, including those working to support families on a daily basis. We welcome practitioners to share this with families they support.

We have also published a toolkit for practitioners working with families affected by co-occurring conditions. The toolkit is intended to offer practitioners some simple but effective tools to help to overcome those barriers and help families to cope more effectively with the challenges they face.

Finally, we are offering free training for practitioners working in either mental health or substance misuse and family support services in the same local area. Please get in touch for more details or if you would like to organise a training session for practitioners in your area.  

Please email us for more information about our work supporting families affected by co-occurring conditions. 

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