Drug Addiction and Mental Health Services

Drug addiction and mental health services: what’s good, what’s bad? That is the question we will answer in this blog post. Mental health and drug addiction are two problems that often go hand-in-hand, but can also be treated separately. This article talks about drug addiction and mental health services, how they work together and sometimes fail people who need help.

What’s Good and Bad About Mental Health Services

Funding Increase:

The Good

In the last 10 years, funding towards mental health services has increased hugely, which has been of great benefit to the Australian community. In fact, from 2018-2019, $6.5 billion was spent on state/territory mental health services and the 2021-2022 Australian Federal budget made a $2.3 billion dollar commitment to shift towards a National Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Plan.

The Bad

Although these are huge financial commitments and big benefits for the Australian community due to the mental health epidemic and more people seeking help than ever before, there is still a lack of services and support and more funding is needed.


Breakdown of stigma for some areas of mental health:

The Good

Over the last 10 years, the community, organisations, movements and initiatives have done a fantastic job with advocacy to change the public perspectives and views of some mental health issues such as depression and anxiety. This has led to more people feeling comfortable to step forward and access services.

The Bad

Having more people present for help with anxiety and depression is a great thing, however, there have been many anecdotal reports of people with other mental health conditions, such as bipolar and schizophrenia, etc. feeling more isolated and stigmatised. With the rising acceptance of depression and anxiety, the understanding of other conditions has decreased leaving people feeling different and being labelled crazy, in the end resulting in people in this cohort receiving less help.

Medically focused Mental Health Services:

The Good

One of the positive aspects of the mental health system for many is that a lot of mental health problems are actually considered conditions and are labelled that way in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5). This allows medical practitioners and allied health professionals to deliver services around Medicare and other funded health streams, allowing medications and services to be more accessible to people needing help. This approach has also created more specialisation in the workforce and has also allowed for a step care model to be developed which helps professionals get on the same page and move patients through the mental health system as various interventions are required.

To read more about the stepped care model visit: https://www.connecttowellbeing.org.au/stepped-care

The Bad

Although a medical approach can be a good thing, it also can be like trying to bang a screw in with a hammer, it’s not always a one size fits all process. Anecdotally many people feel stigmatised and pigeonholed by being labelled with a mental health condition. People also anecdotally report being misdiagnosed as medical professionals are quick to slap a label on a problem and hand out medication. At Connection Based Living, we have experience working with clients that have had a lifelong mental health diagnosis which turns out to actually be an addiction issue. This is why the mental health and addiction treatment sectors have to start working collaboratively together and be integrated together in a structured way in order to ensure people are being diagnosed with the right issues.

If you are unsure about what your issue may be and whether or not you are on the right track with your healing, Connection Based Living offers free consultation sessions in which we can help you discover the best way to support you or your loved one. To book a free consultation you can click the link below:


We would also recommend that you check out our programs to gain a greater understanding of what you may need on your healing journey.


What’s Good and Bad About Addiction Services

Lived experience of addiction recovery:

The Good

One of the cool things about alcohol and drug addiction services is that the people who enter those services and manage to turn their life around are often inspired to then go and work in the sector professionally to help others.

This is of huge benefit in the treatment process because anecdotally almost every person that we have met who has been successful in recovery has been helped in their journey by someone else who has a lived experience of recovery.

The Bad

Unfortunately, the alcohol and drug sector is largely unregulated and this can sometimes lead to people with lived experience jumping into a professional career too early or without strong support, which can cause a multitude of issues for the clients and result in lack of lustre care.

Dedicated professionals:

The Good

It is often said that the alcohol and drug sector is a career of passion because the sector can be so underfunded and without the appropriate structural foundations. This means that you can often count on your alcohol and drug worker to be dedicated and passionate about caring for you in your treatment process.

The Bad

The other side to this is that because the sector is underfunded, organisations and staff are often burnt out and stretched in their capacity. This is not the worker’s fault and is usually a result of the system, however, it can lead to services being stretched and positive treatment outcomes impacted.

How drug addiction and Mental Health services could work together better

It is no secret that sometimes the mental health system and the alcohol and drug system don’t work together in the best possible way and people slip through the cracks as a result.

There are many changes that could be made, however that would require a whole other article to detail the solutions.

To understand these solutions further, we would recommend reading our previous article: “Drug Rehab In Australia – The Ultimate Guide”.

We would also recommend that you watch the interview we did on our podcast channel “Real Drug Talk” with professor Nicole Lee from 360 Edge


We’ve helped countless people overcome addictive patterns, book a call today and find the fastest path to breaking addictive patterns, achieve change and find happiness within yourself.

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