Integrating AOD and mental health practice


Neami’s long-standing partnership with Simon Kroes and Dr Kevan Myers from Nexus (St Vincent’s Hospital) and Dr Melissa Petrakis from Monash University has supported the work of a number of Neami services to integrate AOD approaches into their practice.

Over the course of this partnership Nexus has trained and mentored staff in the Reasons for Use Package (RFUP) accross several services in Victoria, NSW and Queensland.

The RFUP, a dual diagnosis package with an embedded mentoring component, assists workers to create an space where consumers can explore the interaction between their mental health and substance use.

To date, the partnership has produced number of peer reviewed journal publications, conference presentations both locally and internationally and been the recipient of two awards.

Research project summary

During 2015, more than 100 Neami National staff across New South Wales and Victoria participated in a case-comparison trial to understand how training and mentoring in the RFUP impacted dual diagnosis practice in mental health community support.

Results showed that both staff and service users responded positively to the RFUP.

Staff self-reported improvements in knowledge and confidence, and service users reported that the RFUP assisted them with reflecting on interactions between their mental health and substance use.

Implications were that training and mentoring in the RFUP can contribute to building staff knowledge and confidence in dual diagnosis interventions in mental health community services, and benefit service users.

In 2020, the project was extended to include in-depth interviews with young people to understand their experiences using the RFUP.

A co-produced, lived-experience informed approach was utilised to explore young peoples’ experiences of using the RFUP within a Youth Residential Recovery Service service setting.

Findings showed that RFUP was a useful clinical tool with the young people in this pilot because it improved awareness of reasons for drug use and impact on mental health, service user to staff relationship, quality of the resource, mode of delivery and participant self-knowledge.


Dual diagnosis assessment: A case study implementing the reasons for use package to engage a marginalised service user
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Dual diagnosis competencies: A systematic review of staff training literature
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Coproduction in evaluating a dual diagnosis tool with youth in a residential mental health service (Kroes, et al. 2022)
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Reasons for Use Package: Outcomes From a Case Comparison Evaluation
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  • St. Vincent’s Health Australia Innovation and Excellence Awards (2019) – Finalist Leading Reputation ‘Building and Sustaining Mental Health and Alcohol and Other Drug Workforce Capabilities: A National Trial of the RFUP.
  • School of Primary and Allied Health Care, Monash University (2022) – Research Impact Award. “Dual diagnosis interventions in Mental Health”.

Conference Presentations

The Second National Complex Needs Conference, Canberra (2015) – ‘The Reasons For Use Package Neami National Evaluation’.

University of Sussex, United Kingdom (2016) – ‘The Reasons For Use Package- A Simple Tool for Complex Conversations’.

The 8th International Social Workers in Health and Mental Health Conference,  Singapore (2016) – ‘An evaluation study on a dual diagnosis resources-Reasons for Use Package (RFUP)-developed by Nexus and Neami National’.

The Mental Health Services Conference, Auckland (2016) – ‘The Reasons For Use Package research: Lessons for the Field’.

The Mental Health Services Conference Summer Forum, Sydney (2016)- ‘E-poster- Neami National and Nexus: Trial New Drug Diagnosis Resource’.

Bendigo Health Psychiatric Services and Western Education and Training Cluster Conference, Victoria (2017) – ‘The Reasons For Use Package Neami National Evaluation’.

The 9th International Social Workers in Health and Mental Health Conference, United Kingdom (2019)- ‘The Reasons For Use Package: The Development, Research and Launch of a Dual Diagnosis Online Resource’.

AOD and Mental Health Collaborative Service Providers’ Conference, Victoria (2022) – ‘Evidenced Based Tools for Integrated Practice: A workforce Development Approach’

Sarah O’Connor

Sarah (she/her) is a mental health researcher who spends her time supporting consumer feedback processes and co-ordinating a range of research and evaluation projects.
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