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Myree

Myree HARRIS OAM RSJ

Year of Award: 2002.2 Award State: New South Wales Social Welfare > Drugs, Alcohol And Substances
To investigate models of treatment and rehabilitation for people who have a dual diagnosis of mental illness and substance abuse with a focus on residential models - USA, Canada, U.K.
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Major Learnings and Key Resource People:

  • Dual Diagnosis, among people with serious mental illness, is increasingly regarded as the expectation, not the exception in USA, Canada and UK. It is regarded as a major social problem and challenge to existing services. This is reflected in National documentation in all three countries. 
  • In USA, SAMHSA, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, made a major report to Congress on dual diagnosis in 2002. A National Dual Diagnosis Prevention, Treatment, Technical Assistance and Cross-Training Centre is planned for 2003. Drs Ken Minkoff and Christie Cline of Zialogic, currently work with 15 US States and three Canadian Provinces to integrate the two systems, at State levels for dual diagnosis service delivery. 
  • In Canada, there are Best Practice Guidelines and a National Program Inventory 
  • In UK, there are Best Practice Guidelines and Mental Health Policy Implementation Guide. 
  • Dr Robert Drake from New Hampshire-Dartmouth Psychiatric Research Centre is regarded everywhere as the leader in dual diagnosis research. Integrated treatment has been shown to be more effective than serial or parallel treatment by two agencies. This has emerged from Dr Drake's research into evidence-based practice over 20 years. SAMHSA commissioned a series of six EBP Toolkits. They are being used and evaluated over five years at 55 sites: States, cities and regions. The dual diagnosis toolkit, of which I have a draft version, shows how to provide integrated treatment. It will be available commercially soon. 
  • There are excellent models of residential and outreach treatment of people with dual diagnosis from all three countries. 
  • Assertive Community Treatment (ACT) teams which are multi-disciplinary, with people from diverse backgrounds, using a holistic not medical approach, and having a protected caseload of 10 clients per team member. This service model emerged, in all three countries, as the key element of care for dually diagnosed clients, including those with complex needs. 
  • In Canada, there are two excellent models of residential dual diagnosis treatment for Indigenous Youth aged from 7-18. These were Ranch Ehrlo Society at Pilot Butte, near Regina SK and Eagle Moon and Lone Pipe Lodges, part of Woods Homes, at Calgary, AB. 
  • In Washington DC at Community Connections, Dr Richard Bebaut has a supported housing program for homeless people with dual diagnosis. In Harlem, NY City, Dr Sam Tsemberis of Pathways to Housing has another model which has been evaluated to show its effectiveness in breaking the cycle of homelessness.

Awards and Honours

  • 2011 awarded Medal of the Order of Australia for service to people with mental illness, and to the homeless, through a range of social welfare and church organisations.
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