Building the Workforce to Address Co-Occurring Disorders
The effective treatment of co-occurring mental and substance use disorders requires collaboration across disciplines. While evidence shows that the most effective services offer treatment for both disorders, practitioners are usually trained in separate fields, operate under distinct licenses with requirements that may restrict integrated care, and know relatively little about each other's organizational culture and operations.
In order to work together effectively, practitioners need:
- basic information on co-occurring disorders
- common terms that are understood by all
- understanding and respect for each others' roles, responsibilities, and cultures
States working to improve co-occurring disorders treatment have taken multiple steps to build the workforce including:
- Defining practitioner competencies
- Assessing organizational and practitioner competencies
- Creating incentives
- Sustaining workforce development through partnerships and changing contract language
Resources and Links
Overview of practical issues for training a competent COD workforce
Workforce Development and Training: Technical Assistance Report for the Co-occurring State Incentive Grants (COSIGs)
An in-depth presentation summary of issues facing and strategies for expanding and supporting the workforce serving people with co-occurring disorders
A brief overview of issues facing the workforce serving people with co-occurring disorders
This report was prepared for SAMHSA by the Annapolis Coalition, a group of experts and stakeholders conducted a process to identify key challenges, priorities, and strategies for improving the behavioral health workforce.
This SAMHSA white paper defines terms used for substance-related disorders, such as substance abuse; mental disorders, serious emotional disturbances, and serious mental illness; co-occurring disorders; and program types as well as integrated screening, assessment, and interventions.
This SAMHSA white paper outlines 12 overarching principles for working with persons who have co-occurring disorders of substance abuse and mental illness. Discusses principles that are grounded in evidence-based practices for systems of care and individual treatment providers.