Friday, 20 December 2013

WHO MiNDbank

The World Health Organisation has launched an online platform, MiNDbank, for gathering together resources and policy documents on the topics of mental health, substance abuse, disability, and general health.  The resources can be searched on topic or by region

Australian resources are heavily featured, and are of a high standard.  Most of the documents are created by government departments, and the others are from highly regarded organisations.

Friday, 22 November 2013

Global Drug Survey 2014

The Global Drug Survey for 2014 has just been launched.

Image from Retrieved 22/11/2013

The Global Drug Survey began in 2012, although they have been running surveys through MixMag for over a decade.  It is run by UK based psychiatrist Dr Adam Winstock.  The survey investigates items such as drug pricing, consumption, and pleasure and pain factors associated with drug taking. Detailed information about the survey including methodology and limitations is available on the Global Drug Survey website

The survey is promoted by media partners in 17 countries (Fairfax in Australia) and has had 29740 respondents today, after being launched (in Australia) on 12th November.  Results for the 2014 survey should be available in March/April, but you can see some of the 2012 data on the Global Drug Survey website here

The following two articles by Dr Winstock have used data from the survey:

Mitcheson, L; Winstock, A.R (2012)’New recreational drugs and the primary care approach to patients who use them‘. British Medical Journal 344:e288

Ford, C; Winstock, A.R; Witton, J. (2010) Assessment & management of cannabis use disorders in primary care British Medical Journal, 340:c1571.

The results of the survey have also been used to inform an online application called The Drugs Meter, where people can examine their own drug and alcohol use and compare it to the survey's results.

Image from Retrieved on 22/11/2013

Friday, 1 November 2013

Using online tools and apps with clients

There are an increasing number of websites and apps being created to help people with drug and alcohol and/or mental health issues. 

Can these tools be used to complement practice with clients?

ReachOut has developed a professional development package for information on young people’s online context, and guidance on using technology in service delivery to make services more accessible and engaging for young people.

Access "Using technology in Sevice Delivery: Connecting our worlds"

Modules include:
Part 1: Technology and Young People
Part 2: Technology 101
Part 3: Technology in Practice
Part 4: Ethics and Boundaries

The package has PowerPoint presentations, quizzes, and case studies.  You can work at your own pace through the modules.  You will have to sign up for a "professional account" to access the information. 

Their professional development site also lists a number of websites and apps for use with young people.  Including their recently released "The Sorter", aimed at men over 18.
The app covers:
  • Sex & relationships
  • Alcohol & other drugs
  • Friends & family
  • Study stress
  • Work & cash 

  • We'll be sure to cover more about what's available in terms of quality apps over the coming weeks.

    Friday, 25 October 2013

    Open access week

    It's Open Access week!

    What is open access?

    Open access is the provision of scholarly articles for free, to be accessed by anyone.  There are a couple of categories of open access articles.

    Gold: These articles are published in online journals - either the entire journal is open access OR a particular article has been provided as open access in an otherwise restricted journal (the journal is usually pay-per-view or subscribe to access articles). 

    Green: These articles are provided through digital repositories, mostly run by learning institutions, like universities.  Other repositories are based on a theme or topic.  The author submits their work for uploading to the repository.  The article may be in a pre-published format, or final draft, rather than in the published form.

    Articles that have been published and peer reviewed are known as white literature and articles that are yet to be peer reviewed are known as grey literature.  Articles from Green sources may be grey literature, that is they may not yet be peer reviewed.

    Are open access articles good quality?

    It depends.  Sometimes sweeping statements are made about the unreliability of open access articles, however, some of the top ranking journals on any given topic may be open access. Additionally, items that are retrieved through digital repositories may be exact replicas of a peer-reviewed published article. 

    It is good to be aware that some journals and articles are better than others, and scrutinise information that is found accordingly.

    Open access journals

    The Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) is a good place to start looking at what open access journals are available.  Below are a few examples of open access journals on the topic of alcohol and other drugs (AOD) and mental health (MH).

    On the topic of AOD

    Substance abuse treatment, prevention and policy (UK) (Free full text from PubMed Central)

    Harm reduction journal (UK) (Free full text from PubMed Central)

    CrossCurrents: The Journal of Addiction and Mental Health (Canada)

    On the topic of MH

    Counselling, Psychotherapy and Health (cphJournal) (Australia)

    Clinical Practice and Epidemiology in Mental Health (UK)  (Free full text from PubMed Central)
    BMC Psychology (UK)

    This is just a small snippet of what is available out there, and this doesn't include the digital repositories of universities and other organisations, which are growing everyday.  If you've come across a useful open access site be sure to share it here in the comments.

    Following blogs

    Last week we put up a couple of AOD and MH blogs that you might find interesting or useful.  Continuously visiting blogs to find out if there's something new or relevant can get tedious and be a waste of time.  A better option is to be notified when there are new updates and make an assessment about whether the article is going to be of use without having to visit each site.  The best way to do this is to follow or subscribe to a blog. 

    There are a number of places online where you can find information about following blogs; Google can provide you with lots of information.  The following links are some starting points for you to consider, and are by no means an exhaustive list.  If you want more information feel free to contact the resource centre or do further investigation online on your preferred option.

    Options for following blogs:

    Have updates sent to your inbox by:

    Subscribing to the blog (link available on most blog websites)

    Adding an RSS feed to your Outlook. (This link also explains what an RSS feed is.)

    Use an online application to collate your blog reading in one space:

    These four options are free and relatively easy to use.  There are some differences in functionality and presentation, so you might want to have a look at a few and decide which works best for you.  You'll also find extensive reviews online through Google.

    Digg Reader

    AOL Reader



    I use Bloglovin' for my personal reading as it has a simple interface, particularly on mobile devices.  However, I would consider using another reader for professional reading if it had better functionality.

    Anyone subscribing to/following blogs like to give there tips and experiences? Take a moment to comment below.

    Friday, 18 October 2013

    AOD and MH blogs to follow

    Following blogs is a great way to keep up-to-date with your profession.  Of course, anyone can publish a blog so there may be great variances in their reliability and the quality of information. 

    The following blogs are well regarded and well worth a read if you have time. 

    It's a good idea to consider "following" blogs that interest you.  By following a blog you will get notifications when there is a new article on that blog.  There are a number of different ways to follow blogs - we'll put up a couple of different ways on here next week, if you're interested in how to do it.  In the meantime, have a look through and consider if any of the following appeal to you.

    If you have a blog that you find useful please consider sharing in the comments. 

    National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre – University of New South Wales.
    Details the University’s latest research and resources.
    Latest blog post topics – How community action impacts on alcohol, Shedding light on online stores for illicit and synthetic drugs, The life of a heroin user- now in German


    Addiction blog
    ”Addiction Blog is a network of writers and bloggers managed by Lee Weber. Contributors are industry leaders who are interested in the field of addiction treatment. We embrace new ideas and alternative therapies for the treatment of all types of addiction.”
    Latest blog post topics: How to withdraw from Ecstasy, OxyContin withdrawal side effects, How to treat Ativan addiction


    Clear the Air News Tobacco Blog
    “All the facts, legislation and how it affects your health”
    Latest blog post topics: Tobacco industry victorious as EU fails to pass tougher laws against tobacco marketing, Tobacco Unpacked: Shadowy lobbying against Tobacco Products Directive, SMH: Tobacco industry involved in child labour in production


    The Addiction Inbox
    “Articles and health studies about drugs, addiction and alcoholism, including the most recent scientific and medical findings.”
    Latest blog post topics: Spiced: synthetic cannabis keeps getting stronger, State marijuana legalization: the opposing voices, Dr. David Nutt on Alcohol


    National Institute of Mental Health Director’s Blog
    Thomas R. Insel, M.D., is Director of the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), the component of the National Institutes of Health charged with generating the knowledge needed to understand, treat, and prevent mental disorders.”
    Latest blog post topics: In vitro veritas, Accessing and accessing science from PLOS to DORA, Antipsychotics: taking the long view


    College on Problems of Drug Dependence
    “This site is intended to be an information resource on substance abuse research, treatment, and related issues for CPDD members, the public, and the media, and a site for commentary by CPDD members and invited guests.”
    Latest blog post topics: Should e-cigarette sale be regulated?, CPDD Annual Meeting Public Policy Forum: Part II: Considerations for Regulating Marijuana to Achieve Public Objectives, NIDA Director Nora Volkow Presents Plenary Session Report from NIDA and the CPDD President's Lecture at the CPDD 75th Annual Meeting


    Addiction and recovery news blog
    Latest blog post topics: New drug bans, How low can you go?, How full do you want your recovery to be


    Australian and New Zealand Mental Health Blog
    Latest blog posts: Mental Health Workers perspectives on Rural practice, Submit your abstract to present at the No 2 Bullying Conference in 2014, Improving Aboriginal health and well-being: a view from the north


    Mad World: News and views on Mental Health and other stuff
    Latest blog post topics: Crime victims with mental illness fearful of disclosing experiences to professionals, Why crass ‘mental patient’ costumes offend me as a patient and professional, CQC to investigate impact of mental health beds crisis on patients and staff

    Friday, 11 October 2013

    Online mental health course

    In celebration of World Mental Health Day/ National Mental Health week, Flinders University, Adelaide are offering a free five-week course titled "Mental Wealth: know it and grow it".

    Modules include:
    1) What is normal?
    2) Map your community health issue
    3) Busting myths and stigma
    4) Media Madness
    5) Generating mental wealth

    Topics covered include:
  • Mental health and mental wealth
  • Stigma and how to counter such attitudes
  • How mental health is perceived differently around the world
  • Factors that impact on good and poor mental health
  • How you can build mental wealth for yourself and in your communities
  • Your own beliefs about mental health and mental illness and identify what has shaped these

  • In their own words "This course is for anyone interested in mental health and wellness... This course is NOT a self- help group for people with mental health issues or a place to talk about treatment"

    The course starts Monday 28th October, 2013

    Friday, 4 October 2013

    Introductory resources for working in AOD

    If you're new to working in the field of Alcohol and Other Drugs (AOD) or just keen to get as much information as possible, here are 3 resources that may be of use to you.

    1) InSight's free online induction modules
    Developed for both government and non-government workers.  It's suggested that you work through the modules in order.
    The modules include:
    Big Picture
    Psychoactive drugs
    Microcounselling skills
    Motivational Interviewing
    AOD Clinical Assessment
    Relapse Prevention and Management

    2) ADCA's Tips and Trick for New Players: a guide to becoming familiar with the alcohol and other drugs sector [4th Ed]
    An excellent resource that includes information on services, acronyms and abbreviations, researching, resources, peak bodies, key concepts, and more...
    If you have time be sure to fill in the linked survey so ADCA can improve and adjust future editions.

    3) Dovetail's Good Practice Toolkit
    Guide 01: A framework for youth alcohol and other drug practice
    Guide 02: Legal and ethical dimensions of practice
    Guide 03: Practice strategies and interventions

    Any resources you'd suggest for beginners?

    Wednesday, 18 September 2013

    Not your usual drug driving ad

    Despite shaky evidence, advertisements around drug and alcohol use, and its impact on health and safety, tend to use scare and shock tactics.

    Here is a new ad from New Zealand, whilst it seems quite light hearted it still leaves an impression. 

    Video sourced from MaoriTelevision's YouTube Channel 2013

    Hopefully, we'll see a good evaluation of this ad campaign and its impact to add to the research of what is effective in prompting behaviour change.

    Friday, 13 September 2013

    Webinars and online talks for AOD and mental health professionals

    Here are 5 places you can go to view webinars and talks on AOD and Mental Health.  Webinars and online presentations can be an easy and convenient way to get information on the latest research and keep abreast of developments in your professional field.

    1) InSight have an archive of their presentations held at Biala in Brisbane.  You can also sign up for their webinars and participate in future presentations
    Talks include:
    • DBT in the treatment of borderline personality disorber
    • Speeding towards disaster - Amphetamine-Type Stimulants
    • Achieving and measuring AOD and other outcomes in among Indigenous people involved in the Boystown Program
    • and more...

    2) Australian Drug Foundation's YouTube channel, which includes a seminar on ICT and counselling

    3) Talking Point's YouTube channel, including items on:
    • Resilience based practice
    • Exploring drug and alcohol harms across health settings

    4) Mental Health Professionals Network series of webinars including:
    • A collaborative approach to supporting people at risk of suicide
    • Working together: working better to support families living with parental mental illness
    • Perinatal mental health
    • Complex trauma
    • and much more...

    5) Dovetail videos including:
    • Harm minimisation in Australia
    • Tips for frontline workers: Dual Diagnosis
    • Bad trip guidelines

     and another bonus one;

    TED talks on mental health including:
    • The voices in my mind
    • Toward a new understanding of mental illness
    • A tale of mental illness from the inside

    Have another suggestion for your colleagues? Comment below.

    Friday, 6 September 2013

    National Child Protection Week

    Tomorrow is the final day of National Child Protection Week (1st-7th September).

    The event is organised by the National Association for Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect (NAPCAN).  Visit their website here:

    The website has a Resources Hub, which has a good selection of resources including a number of helpful brochures.
    Brochures include, but are not limited to: "Alternatives to smacking", "Use words that help not hurt", "When a child feels sad", and "Keeping children safe from sexual abuse".

    On the topic of child protection, there is still the video file from the "Child Protection for Workers" seminar (held in April this year) available on SiteMap.  Click on the Training Resources link from the front page of SiteMap.  This item is an internal file and you'll need to be connected to the appropriate server for access.

    The Australian Institute of Family Studies provides links to numerous studies, facts and statistics from their website.

    The following guidelines regarding child protection are available through their site

    Please comment if you have other resources you'd like to share with your colleagues.

    Wednesday, 4 September 2013

    Adult learners' week

    It's adult learners' week this week and this year's theme is "Pathways".

    Learning and access to education are vitally important, particularly at this time when technology rapidly changes and information is in an overwhelming abundance.  Being able to read, write and utilise technology is essential, and people without these skills are increasingly becoming disadvantaged in their ability to participate in society.  The disparity between those who have access to ICT, and skills to use it, and those who don't is commonly referred to as the "digital divide".  This may have significant impact for the clients that our organisations support.

    Further, it is important that we understand the necessity for lifelong learning in our own roles (and lives!).  It is no longer likely that a 3-4yr qualification will be sufficient to last you a career.  As information, research and technology expands and increases so too does the need to continue learning and expanding knowledge in your chosen area.  The importance of lifelong learning is reflected in clinical governance statements, organisational and professional ethical charters, and certification/accreditation processes for various professions.

    The official webpage for adult learning week is here:

    Under the further resources tab there's a really useful list of online resources for:
    Literacy resources
    Digital literacy
    Emotional literacy
    Financial literacy
    Health literacy
    Information literacy

    These may be useful for yourself or a client.  Also be aware that local and state libraries commonly run computer and internet skills programs to help bridge the "digital divide". 

    The Reading and Writing Hotline also provides numerous resources.

    Also worth a look for your information is the Adult Learning Australia website.  Find information on learning theories, adult learning principles, and learning styles.

    For suggestions for your own learning you could read up on MOOCs, discussed here a couple of months ago.  It may be useful to consider how you evaluate your learning needs and where you record your learning activities - I will promise a blog topic on this one day, but if you have any suggestions about this please let your colleagues know about them in the comments below.

    Friday, 30 August 2013

    International Overdose Awareness day

    Tomorrow, Saturday 31st, is International Overdose Awareness day.  The day is an opportunity to remember those who have died or been permenantly injured due to overdose, and acknowledge the hardships of friends and family who have lost a loved one.

    The official website has information on:
    There is much talk about Naxolone this Overdose Awareness day.  Naxolone is a drug that is used by paramedics to revive people who have overdosed on opioids.  Countries such as the US, Italy, Russia and the UK are operating Naxolone distribution programs for "at risk" populations.  A number of small scale programs are also operating in Australia, but advocates are pushing for further distribution.  You can find more information about Naxolone here

    The following ad is form the Overdose Awareness website.  There are further videos available from the site.

    Tuesday, 27 August 2013

    "Be the influence" campaign

    Over the coming weeks the Australian Preventative Health Agency will launch their "Be the Influence - Tackling Binge Drinking" campaign.  The campaign targets 16-25y/o and aims for a cultural shift encouraging young people to be more responsible in their attitude towards drinking.

    Image: ANPHA website 27/08/13
    You can view the website here:

    The "Help/Links" tab leads to some useful websites around drinking including:

    Information and resources for making decisions about drinking

    and Hello Sunday Morning
    A free online program that helps people take a break from drinking and assess their relationship with alcohol.

    Thursday, 22 August 2013

    Quality Assurance

    Quality Assurance (QA) audits are looming and you may be wondering what quality management is all about and what an audit may look like.  Here are some introductory resources that may help explain what QA is, why its important, and how it affects you.

    Firstly, here are two items that have been published by the Queensland government.  They deal with the Disability Sector Quality System specifically, but all quality systems have common themes that make the information applicable to our situation.

    Section 2: An introduction to Quality Management
    Some key points:
    - QA is focused on outcomes
    - It's about establishing systems and measuring progress (e.g. policies and procedures are documented, internal audits, reporting systems)
    - Continuous improvement of processes and systems are core (e.g. fix-it diary, feedback collection and analysis, evaluations)
    - QA should be embedded in the organisational culture and advocated by management (e.g. everyone uses the appropriate policies and procedures - we do what we say we do, everyone identifies opportunities for improvement, top level management supports, enforces and is accountable for maintaining quality standards)

    Section 3: Implementing the Quality System
    A good introduction about what goes into implementing quality systems; worth a read if you'd like to get your head around the "how" of quality assurance

    If you're interested in the specific standards that the organisation is audited against (ISO9001:2008) Wikipedia had a nice overview article here:
    Note the points in the auditing section:
    - Quality audit asks: Tell me what you do? Tell me where it says that? (documented procedures) Prove to me you do that (show me a file, report etc. that demonstrates you use the procedure)
    - The 9001 standard is also about identifying the most effective way to do something. Will this way of doing it (the documented way) get you to meet your outcomes? Have you tried to improve this process/ documented ways to improve this process (e.g. used the fix-it diary)?  What happened when you tried to improve it?
    - Essentially, policies and procedures are followed.  If they are not effective, steps are taken to improve them.  An individual worker or work team wouldn't stop using a policy or procedure if it didn't work for them, they would pass on suggestions so the whole organisation could benefit.
    Factors that influence the effectiveness of ISO9001
    1) Senior management commitment to monitor, control and improve quality
    2) Integration of ISO and current practice
    3) How well the system focuses on improving customer (client) experience
    4) How well auditors and others in the organisation identify and communicate areas for improvement  

    Additional reading:
    Sousa-Poza, A., Altinkilinc, M., & Searcy, C. (2009). Implementing a functional ISO9001 quality management system in small and medium sized enterprises. International Journal of Engineering, 3(3), 220-228.
    This item steps through the process of implementing QA and emphasizes the point that it won't be effective without management commitment and employee involvement.

    Many thanks to Bronwyn and Sarah (now gone!) for their amazing work in QA!

    Tuesday, 13 August 2013

    Journal club follow-up: Self medication and comorbid anxiety and substance use disorders

    This month's journal club update was provided by Sarah.


    Journal Article Citation: Robinson, J., Sareen, J, Cox, B.J., & Bolton, J.M. (2011). Role of Self-Medication in the Development of Comorbid Anxiety and Substance Use Disorders: A Longitudinal Investigation. Archives of General Psychiatry, 68(8), pp. 800-807.

    Link for abstract:

    This month’s article raised some interesting points for discussion though there were no learnings made from the reading that were directly applicable to practice. There was some great critical analysis of the article – particularly what was missing from their article and it’s applicability to Australia.

    Discussion Points:

     · The findings of the article confirmed the experience of the frontline workers – that those with symptoms of anxiety (whether know to the individual or not) are likely to be self-medicating using alcohol or other drugs.

    · There was a comparison between participants who had a ‘diagnosable disorder’ and those who have ‘subclinical’ substance use or anxiety symptoms which was an interesting characteristic. Though this was likely because the writers were psychiatrists.

    · There were some distinct limitations in the article (though the data seemed to quite robust with a large sample) – the majority of the participants were from rural areas, white and middle aged and it was discussed that this may have skewed some of their findings (e.g. that substance use disorders were predictive of social phobias). 

    · Another limitation that was discussed was that there was likely to have been recall bias for the data collected on self-medication.

    Also, Carina (from Goondiwindi) has suggested this article to read for those who are interested:

    Journal Article Citation: Burns, L. & Teesson, M. (2002). Alcohol use disorders comorbid with anxiety, depression and drug use disorders. Findings from the Australian National Survey of Mental Health and Well Being. Drug and Alcohol Dependence 68(3), 299-307.

    Link to abstract:
    For a break-down of treatment types for anxiety disorder, including the use of substances for self medication, you may be interested in this resource from beyondblue:
    Reavley NJ, Allen NB, Jorm AF, Morgan AJ, Purcell R. (2010) A Guide to What Works for Anxiety Disorders. beyondblue, Melbourne.


    Wednesday, 7 August 2013

    AOD & breastfeeding

    Today is the last day of World Breastfeeding Week, with this year's theme being "support".  With this in mind, here are some resources to support clients who are breastfeeding with information or increase community awareness around AOD use and breastfeeding.

    The Drug Arm Prevention Team developed a nice and concise poster a couple of months ago outlining the National Drinking Guidelines around drinking and pre-pregnancy, pregnancy and breastfeeding.  Most offices should have one, but you can print out more from this link or direct others there to print out their own copy.

    Australian Breastfeeding Association pamphlet “Alcohol and Breastfeeding: a guide for mothers” has a good overview of the affect of alcohol on breastmilk.  Please be aware that the ABA's agenda is to promote breastfeeding (as it should be), this might not reflect the individual needs of a client.

    Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing: “If you are breastfeeding the safest option is not to drink alcohol”.  Quick two page overview covering similar points to the ABA pamphlet 

    Drugs and Lactation Database (LactMed) can be used to find information a drug's effect on breastfeeding by drug type, this includes prescription medication.  However, this is quite medically based and therefore may use more technical language.

    New South Wales Department of Health (2006) National clinical guidelines for the management of drug use during pregnancy, birth and the early development years of the newborn – Breastfeeding (p19-22) - a guide to inform workers

    Anyone seeking information on how to breastfeed and issues they may experience with breastfeeding should be directed to the Australian Breastfeeding Association's Breastfeeding hotline: 1800 mum 2 mum (1800 686 268), a lactation consultant, or a child health nurse.  Government funded breastfeeding clinics may operate in your area too.

    Friday, 2 August 2013

    Substance misuse skills consortium

    If you had a look at the drugs and alcohol matrices discussed in the post "Where's the evidence base?" you may have noticed reference to the Substance Misuse Skills Consortium.  If you haven't been to their website before (it's been up since 2010), it is well worth a visit.

    From their "About us" page:

    "The Substance Misuse Skills Consortium is an independent, sector-led initiative to harness the ideas, energy and talent within the substance misuse treatment field, to maximise the ability of the workforce, and to help more drug and alcohol misusers recover"

    The matrices are on the website, but you'll also find some great stuff in the Skills Hub including resources sorted by substance type and by treatment phase.

    Substance Misuse Skills Consortium - access point to resources based on treatment phase. Image accessed 08/2013
    As with the matrices this is quite UK material heavy, but a useful website nonetheless.

    Friday, 26 July 2013

    Seminar series - AIMhi Yarning about Indigenous mental health

    If you attended journal club this month you would have been introduced to the AIMhi project examing Aboriginal and TorresStrait Islander mental health.

    The following seminar is presented by Tricia Nagel, Associate Professor at both Flinders University and Menzies School of Health Research and Carolyn Griffin Senior Indigenous Research Officer based at Menzies School of Health Research

    The content of this seminar is the property of Menzies School of Health Research.  The video and other related videos can be viewed from their site:

    The new news.

    Do you currently get the news headlines sent to you from the Resource Centre?

    At the moment the RC offers a service where we forward on "Today's News" - a collation the daily AOD news from Australia. Essentially, it's an email with a list of news headlines and hyperlinks.

    For a while now we've been considering how to do the news differently. Two concerns were: upping the mental health content and making it more accessible.

    So here's what we've gone with... an online newspaper!

    At the moment I've just set one up in my name to trial the concept*, but I'd love for you to have a look.  

    Eventually, we'll set one up under the final name of the Resource Centre and start promoting it.

    The benefits are:
    • Presentation - pictures and video clips in the display
    • Time effective way for the RC to disseminate the latest news - both AOD and MH
    • You interact with it the way you want - visit it when you feel like, subscribe to get a daily email update, go through the archives to see news from previous days... 
    • It can be embedded in our Resource Centre website when it's finalised.
    Please have a look and leave a comment here if you have time- I'd really like to hear what you think.

    *Please excuse my profile picture! It's my daughter pulling a hilariously horrified face when she was 3months of age. Obviously, this is not the image we'll use when setting up the real newspaper... or is it?... :-) 


    Medibank Health have launched a new website 1800Respect: National Sexual Assault, Domestic Family Violence Counselling Service.

    The website provides access for clients to online and telephone counselling, information for significant others, and resources for professionals and workers.

    You might want to have a browse around the site and see what's available, or follow these two links to get directly to the information that applies to your role:

    Alcohol & Other Drug/ Substance Misuse Workers

    Mental Health Professionals & Counsellors

    Wednesday, 24 July 2013

    Prevention factsheet

    The Australian Drug Foundation have just released a new prevention factsheet, which covers the basics of drug prevention strategies.  You can find it here:

    As stated in the factsheet, most of the content comes from this document by the Premier's Drug Prevention Council in Victoria - "Resource guide for planning effective community drug prevention."
    This item was published in 2009, however the research used within is dated back to 2007. 

    Friday, 19 July 2013

    Where's the evidence base?

    Evidence-based practice in all areas of health care*, including AOD and Mental Health is old hat now.  If you're not familiar, the general premise is that practical decisions, or clinical practice decisions, are informed by research and that this research meets the requirements or norms that suggest scientific rigor.

    In practice, we may not know the exact evidence base for the way we do things.  It may just be the way that we were trained or taught - so Alcohol and Drug Findings have come up with two handy little matrices to help link research to practice.

    Alcohol Matrix

    Drug Matrix

    Choose the intervention level and intervention type and select the corresponding box - Et voilĂ ! a list of the key articles, seminal works, reviews and guidelines in that area.

    **When choosing the intervention level, column A and B are most relevant for those working directly with clients, column C and D for their managers, and column E for community partnerships and policy level work.

    When choosing an intervention type, row 1 is most useful for those in generic or harm reduction services, row 2 and 3 for those in specialist medical services, row 4 for counsellors and therapists in specialist services, and row 5 for those who work in criminal justice.

    For example, someone working in CAFSS may be interested in box 1A on the Drugs Matrix- "Effectiveness of harm reduction interventions".  When they click on this box they are taken to a list of articles that provide evidence for harm reduction interventions.  Items marked with an S are Seminal, K are Key, R is a Review, and G are Guidelines.  You can then click on an article to open the abstract or the article itself.  If you are unable to access the full text of an article you can contact the Resource Centre about obtaining a copy.** 

    It is a bit heavily weighted with items from the UK, being a resource from there. But useful nonetheless.

    *In all professions now? EBP is certainly a buzz phrase in Library and Information circles recently.  
    ** This item was updated on 23/08/13 with further information on how to use the matrices

    Online resources for working with Indigenous clients - Part 2

    Two new resources that have come to my attention over the last week:

    The Lowitja Institute - Australia's National Institute for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Research.
    - An excellent portal to research, key resources and news items


    The Handbook for Aboriginal Alcohol and Drug Work (2012)
    - Scroll to the bottom of the record to open the pdf file.

    Comment below with your suggestions.

    Friday, 12 July 2013

    Where is that book?

    No home to go to :-(

    We've run out of space on the shelves in the mental health section of the resource centre.  If you're looking for a book and it's not on the shelf it may be on the shelving trolley...

    We're endeavouring to do something about this situation soon.  Thanks for your patience in the meantime!

    Online resources - working with Indigenous clients and communities

    It's the end of NAIDOC week and perhaps a good time to reflect on the resources that are available online that have been designed for working with Indigenous clients and communities, both in mental health and AOD.

    Mental Health

    Social and emotional wellbeing (including mental health) – as part of the Australian Indigenous HealthInfoNet
    · Includes reviews, publications, resources, workforce development info
    · This site has a wealth of information and is relatively easy to navigate
    Australian Indigenous Mental Health:
    · This site has been developed by the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Mental Health Committee of the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists (RANZCP) and beyondblue: the national depression initiative.
    · Has case studies, guidelines, information on key issues
    · Website frequently updated – primary audience is psychiatrists, but plenty of useful information for other counselling practitioners

    Guidelines for providing Mental Health First Aid to an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander Person (scroll half-way down the page)
    · Series of pdfs to complement Mental Health First Aid
    · Information on cultural considerations, depression, psychosis, suicide, trauma and loss, and problem drinking

    Social and emotional wellbeing and mental health services in Aboriginal Australia
    · Website to help find services
    · Resources available (or linked to) include culturally specific screening tools and adapted mainstream tools
    · Contains information on the idea of “promising practice” vs “best practice”


    Drugs and Alcohol

    Resources for workers in the drug and alcohol field who work with Indigenous Communities– factsheet (2009)
    · Bit of a “cheat sheet” for resources for AOD workers
    · Lots of useful links

    Culturally secure resources for Aboriginal people – from the West Australian Drug and Alcohol office
    · Printable resources on a range of topics including injecting drug use, alcohol, speed, and chroming

    Substance use – part of the Australian Indigenous HealthInfoNet
    · Includes reviews, publications, resources, workforce development info
    · This site has a wealth of information and is relatively easy to navigate

    Aboriginal Drug and Alcohol Council (SA)
    · Resources for printing and for purchase

     For your own information

    The theme of this year's NAIDOC week is We value the vision: Yirrkala Bark Petitions 1963. You can read more about this important event in Australia's history here:

    If you are interested in extending your cultural knowledge, libraries across the states and nationally are working to provide great info online and in the community.

    State Library of South Australia – Indigenous collections and services

    State Library of New South Wales – Australian Indigenous Services

    State Library of Queensland – Indigenous Knowledge Centres

    National Library’s Indigenous Collection


    Have some suggestions for your colleagues? Comment below!

    Wednesday, 10 July 2013

    Journal club follow-up: Yarning about Indigenous mental health

    This month's journal club article was:
    Nagel, T., Hinton, R., & Griffin, C. (2012). Yarning about Indigenous mental health: Translation of a recovery paradigm to practice. Advances in Mental Health, 10(3), pp. 216-223

    The following points were recorded by Sarah in the journal club session (thanks Sarah!):
    Discussion points:

    ·         A quote from the article that resonated with the participants was “Holistic care planning that address other dimensions of life is important, but additional emphasis on culture and the strength of cultural identity, family and kinship, language and country is needed for Indigenous peoples” (p. 221).

    ·         The challenges that Indigenous workers and service providers face – the institutional racism – that can go both ways. For example, some Indigenous people may not want to visit a hospital for a check-up because in the past it has been perceived as the place where people go to die. Or upper management may hold the belief that the past is the past and shouldn’t be discussed.

    ·         The brief therapy the article highlighted – Motivational Care Planning (MCP) – was another point of discussion. The combination of some of the best bits of different therapies – like MI, positive psychology, problem solving therapy and solution focused therapy – was of interest and the possible synergies with current best practice for dual diagnosis that is core business for the organisation was discussed.

    ·         One last thing (a little off topic)…We dreamed about a time where the national education system incorporates Indigenous culture, languages and the history of Australia from an Indigenous perspective, the possibilities and positive impact this would have on the Australian culture. Oh the possibilities! J

    This month’s discussion was very interesting. It was wonderful to have some insights from our frontline workers, particularly from Trevor who was fantastic at providing some insights as to the challenges an Indigenous worker and Indigenous clients encounter.

    The authors of the article were involved in the implementation of the resources and training available on this website.
    Click on the "Resources" tab at the top for links to free factsheets and resources that may be of use.
    An earlier article from one of the researchers, that focuses on motivational care planning, is:
    Nagel, T. & Thompson, C. (2008). Motivational care planning: Self management in indigenous mental health. Australian Family Physician, 37 (12), 996-1001.
    This may provide some additional reading for those interested in Motivational Care Planning.
    Great article and very timely!