ACT ATOD Sector Alert - Mental Health Week 2012
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About Mental Health Week in the ACT: 7-13 October

National Mental Health Week is an annual event celebrated in Australia and over 100 other countries in an effort to increase the public’s understanding of mental illness, encourage the reduction of stigma and discrimination against people living with mental illness, and promote positive mental health.

The theme for Mental Health Week this year is ‘Open Your Mind. What you do can make the difference’. This theme reminds us that people can build positive mental health by keeping physically, mentally and socially active; by keeping involved in family and community activities and participating in community events; and by taking on challenges or causes that provide meaning and purpose in their lives.

Mental Health Week is an opportunity to raise awareness about mental health in your local community and to educate and inform people in your local area, or any other sector of the community.

For more information: See Mental Health Week's website

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Key Events
ACT Calendar of Events: Get Involved
ACT Mental Health Week Committee
A calendar of events including the Territory Launch and 20+ other activities is available from MHCC's website

Launch of Mental Health Week and Mental Health and Wellbeing Expo
An expo of ACT services showing what they do to promote good mental health and people talking about their own experiences with mental illness, digital stories, singing, spray tattooing, drumming, badge making and light refreshments.
Date: 9 October
Time: 10:30am – 1pm
Venue: The Rex Hotel Conference Centre, Canberra
For more information: See MHCC’s website or email or call (02) 6249 7756

ACT Comorbidity Bus Tours
Alcohol Tobacco and Other Drug Association ACT, Mental Health Community Coalition ACT and the Youth Coalition of the ACT
The Comorbidity Bus Tour seeks to increase the capacity of frontline workers to support people experiencing co-occurring alcohol, tobacco and other drug and mental health issues (comorbidity). The Comorbidity Bus Tour visits a variety of services in the ACT from the alcohol, tobacco and other drug (ATOD), mental health and youth sectors.
Upcoming tour dates: 17 and 24 October 2012
Cost: Ranges from $50 - $70.
Registration: Contact Katrina on (02) 6247 3540 or
For more information: See ATODA's website

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Information on Comorbidity in the ACT
The ACT Comorbidity Strategy 2012 – 2014 has been developed to clarify directions and priorities for those working with people at risk of, or experiencing both mental health problems and ATOD problems, that is, people experiencing comorbidity.

Estimates of the proportion of people registered with ACT alcohol and other drug services who have a comorbid mental health problem varies from between 60 and 85 per cent.
Data collected by Mental Health Services – Health Directorate in 2008-2009 indicated that 64.7 per cent (4,751) of current clients, aged 16 to 64, had a definite history of either substance abuse, alcohol abuse or both. As such, working with people experiencing comorbidity is the cocre business of many ACT community and government services.
For more information: See the Health Directorate

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Comorbidity Resources

Mental Health Week provides an opportunity to reflect on how we are linking with mental health services and resources to support the people experiencing co-occuring ATOD and mental health issues.

ATODA encourages workers in ATOD treatment services to have a meeting and form closer linkages with a mental health service or worker. Additionally, a summary of some important resources that can support you in your work are provided below:

5th Annual Comorbidity Interagency Day
Catholic Care Canberra and Goulburn
Have you ever wanted to make a referral to a Mental Health or Alcohol and Other Drugs service but just didn’t know where to look?
Come along for a free sausage sizzle lunch to learn about the mental health and alcohol and other drug services that operate in the ACT region and how they can assist your clients.
Date: 28 November
Time: 12pm - 2pm
Venue: Blackfriars Rose Garden, ACU Campus, 127 Phillip Avenue, Watson
For more information: See the flyer, email or call 6163 7600

Indigenous Risk Impact Screen (IRIS) and Brief Intervention
Queensland Health
The IRIS and Brief Intervention program provides a culturally secure and validated screening instrument and brief intervention designed to meet the specific needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities across Australia.
The IRIS is a two factor screen that assesses alcohol and other drug use and associated mental health issues. The screening instrument allows for the assessment of risk factors for alcohol and other drug use and associated mental health issues in a culturally appropriate and timely manner.
For more information: See Queensland Health

Turning Point Alcohol and Drug Centre
PsyCheck is a screening tool for use with people with comorbid depression or anxiety and alcohol or other drug use problems. It is presented as manualised but flexible package, so that AOD clinicians with a broad range of experience and background are able to use it.
For more information: See Turning Point

Comorbidity Capacity Building Toolkit
Western Australian Network of Alcohol and other Drug Agencies (WANADA)
The Toolkit aims to provide guidance for AOD services planning to undertake capacity building initiatives.
For more information: See WANADA

Guidelines on the Management of Co-Occuring Alcohol and Other Drug and Mental Health Conditions in Alcohol and Other Drug Treatment Settings
National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre (NDARC)
These Guidelines are based on the best available evidence and draw upon the experience and knowledge of clinicians, researchers, consumers and carers.
For more information: See NDARC

Directory of Mental Health Services in the ACT
Mental Health Foundation ACT
A comprehensive Directory of Mental Health and related services in the ACT.
For more information: See the directory

Comorbidity Booklets  
National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre (NDARC)
Five publications have been developed by NDARC, with a focus on:
  • Anxiety and Substance Use
  • Mood and Substance Use
  • Personality and Substance Use
  • Psychosis and Substance Use
  • Trauma and Substance Use
For more information: See NDARC

Smoking and Mental Illness
Sane Australia
Around 32% of people with mental illness smoke cigarettes, compared to just 18% of the general population. The rate is far higher among people with schizophrenia. It is estimated that nearly 40% of all smokers have a mental illness. To address this, Sane Australia has put together a range of resources about the issue.
For more information: See Sane Australia

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Contact ATODA:

Phone: (02) 6255 4070
Fax: (02) 6255 4649
Mail: PO Box 7187,
Watson ACT 2602
Visit: 350 Antill St. Watson

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The Alcohol Tobacco and Other Drug Association ACT (ATODA) is the peak body representing the non-government and government alcohol, tobacco and other drug (ATOD) sector in the Australian Capital Territory (ACT). ATODA seeks to promote health through the prevention and reduction of the harms associated with ATOD. 

Views expressed in the ACT ATOD Sector eBulletin do not necessarily reflect the opinion of the Alcohol Tobacco and Other Drug Association ACT. Not all third-party events or information included in the eBulletin are endorsed by the ACT ATOD Sector or the Alcohol Tobacco and Other Drug Association ACT. No responsibility is accepted by the Alcohol Tobacco and Other Drug Association ACT or the editor for the accuracy of information contained in the eBulletin or the consequences of any person relying upon such information. To contact us please email or call (02) 6255 4070.