The Community Perspective
It is estimated that over 10 million people across the United States are struggling with co-occurring disorders. Many of these people do not access treatment services, and when they do, the treatment is often not "integrated" or delivered in a way that best meets their need.
Based on national prevalence data it is estimated that in Tennessee approximately 196,000 individuals are diagnosed with a co-occurring disorder.
A Community Perspective
- Last year in Tennessee, approximately 12,000 people received treatment for addictive disorders. Due to limited resources, less than 3% of those with co-occurring disorders received treatment through the available addictions treatment systems.
- People who experience co-occurring disorders usually have more episodes of relapse and more emergency room visits.
- Individuals with co-occurring disorders have to go to inpatient hospitals to address symptoms of mental illness and addiction more often than people who are dealing with one disease.
- People with co-occurring disorders have higher rates of chronic diseases such as HIV, diabetes, heart disease and/or hepatitis.
- At least 50% of people who are homeless have co-occurring disorders. Left untreated, they have little chance at obtaining jobs and permanent housing.
Ways you can contribute to initiating change to reduce the impact of co-occurring disorders.
Support Enhanced Treatment
- Be an advocate by encouraging your public policy-makers to support a "no wrong door" community-based integrated treatment approach where the presence of co-occurring disorders is considered an expectation rather than an exception. Regardless of where an individual goes for treatment, they will be able to get the help they need.
Effective Behavioral Healthcare Treatment Options
- Be an advocate by encouraging your public policy-makers to pass laws which focus on a variety of treatment options including, but not limited to, inpatient and outpatient care, supportive housing, and peer-to-peer support as these treatment techniques provide the best possible opportunity for recovery.
- Initiate conversations and efforts that provide your local community the resources to manage these diseases and the support to maintain life-long recovery.
Partner with Local Behavioral Health Agencies and Advocacy Organizations
- Partner with your local community-based behavioral health agencies and advocacy organizations to educate citizens and bring about awareness of co-occurring disorders and their impact on local communities.
Advocate for Awareness and Education on the Impact of Co-Occurring Disorders
- Be an advocate for enhanced training and education for judicial and criminal justice personnel and developing an awareness of the needs of individuals experiencing co-occurring disorders.
- Be an advocate for incentives for employers to offer Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs) and access to effective treatment programs for employees and their families experiencing co-occurring disorders.