Comorbidity Action in the North (CAN)

The COMORBIDITY ACTION IN THE NORTH (CAN) project, based in the Northern Suburbs of Adelaide, aims to improve services and pathways to care for people aged 12 years and over who have both mental health and drug and alcohol problems. CAN is supported by a Linkage Project Grant from the Australian Research Council.

The CAN project team includes:

* The University of Adelaide
* The Adelaide Health Service
* The Adelaide Northern Division of General Practice
* The Aboriginal Health Council of SA
* The University of South Australia
* The SA Network of Drug and Alcohol Services (SANDAS)

The multi-partner CAN team is led by Charlotte de Crespigny, Professor of Drug and Alcohol Nursing, School of Nursing at the University of Adelaide. Team members are also from the University of Adelaide, School of Population Health and Clinical practice and the School of Medicine. Other team members represent our partner organisations being; Adelaide Health Service Mental Health, Adelaide North Division of General Practice, Aboriginal Health Council of SA, SA Network of Drug and Alcohol Services (SANDAS) and the University of South Australia. The project is funded by the Australian Research Council – Linkage program for three years in the Playford and Salisbury local government areas of Adelaide.

The prevalence of comorbidity is up to 70% of all clients presenting to mental health or drug and alcohol services for treatment. A recent study in Melbourne concluded, however, that many clients with complex co-existing problems (often called comorbidity or dual diagnosis) could not get access to quality services that could recognise and respond to their needs as ‘the duality was in the system not the individual’. We know already that people with mental health and alcohol/drug problems require easy access to well coordinated, ‘no wrong door’ support that stops service duplication, avoidable complications and worsening of their overall well being and life opportunities.

CAN aims to identify, engage with and learn from community groups, consumers and service providers concerned about how the needs of young and older people affected by mental health and alcohol/drug problems can be offered easy access to the comorbidity early intervention, treatment and support they need. This will include Aboriginal and refugee/migrant groups living in the area.

For further information please contact CAN leaders, Professor Charlotte de Crespigny or Professor Cherrie Galletly.

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