From Dualism to Integration: The Consolidation of Services for Persons with Dual Diagnoses

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The Northern Rhode Island Community Mental Health Center is a nonprofit, private mental health center that, in 1985, began to implement an integrated treatment service for persons dually diagnosed with substance abuse and severe and persistent mental illness. The impetus for this effort originated with consumer input initiatives, an approach fundamental to the Mental Health Center’s emphasis on consumer participation in all aspects of program development and service delivery. Utilizing the skills and experiences of existing staff members at all levels and throughout all programs of the agency, a diverse Center-wide training and practice endeavor was begun. A model for integrated treatment of substance abuse and mental illness was derived from the gradual synthesis of a treatment technology that merged the best of both fields. This paper presents this integrated model for providing conjoint substance abuse and mental health treatment for consumers requiring this service.

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