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Family advocacy in action

Families of people with co-existing substance use and mental ill health face a constant struggle to navigate the complex system they are faced with, frequently finding their loved ones falling between the gaps of public services leaving family members to pick up the pieces. As part of our research on dual diagnosis we've spoken to families all across the country, and heard first-hand the challenges they face.

“There are so many aspects to pick apart here; how addiction services deal with mental health, how mental health services deal with addiction. It’s almost like one doesn’t exist to the other. I feel like most of the time we’ve been banging our heads against a brick wall.”

Thanks to funding from the Sir Halley Stewart Trust we've set up a peer support and advocacy group for family members to meet others in similar situations and share their experiences on influential platforms. We were delighted to enact the first stage of this last week, venturing into the heart of Government for a meeting at the Home Office, specifically focusing on the impact of dual diagnosis on families.

The meeting was attended by policy-makers and representatives from the Home Office, Department of Health and Social Care and Public Health England. Family members shared and discussed their experiences, which as well as being a beneficial and enriching, allowed our partners in Government to hear family experiences first-hand.

Family group members before the meeting

Thanks to the Home Office for hosting us, and to members of our group for bravely and honestly sharing their experiences.

If you are a family member supporting a loved one with a dual diagnosis and living within access of central London you are very welcome to join our group. To find out more please download our flyer (pdf) or drop me a line.