The All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on complex needs and dual diagnosis was established in 2007 in recognition of the fact that people seeking help often have a number of over-lapping needs including problems around access to housing, social care, unemployment services, mental health provision or substance misuse support. In most cases each service is administered by separate service providers. The result is that people with multiple or complex needs fall through the gaps in service provision.
Providers recognise that the best model for helping those individuals with a dual diagnosis or complex needs is through an integrated service that aims to address all of the issues they face. Secretariat is provided by Turning Point, a large social enterprise which specialises in working with people with complex needs. The APPG has a network of nearly 300 members including the VCSE, academia, local government, the NHS, regulatory bodies and individual service users/family members. The work of the APPG is diverse and has covered issues such as mental health and the criminal justice system; looked after children and care leavers; sex workers; legal highs; veterans and joining up policy on multiple needs from the perspective of those on the frontline. The group undertakes inquiries into key topics, gathering written and oral evidence from the network and undertaking surveys of service users and professionals.
We have made great strides in tackling the stigma associated with mental health problems but there is still a long way to go.
This is particularly the case for many people living with co-existing mental health and substance misuse problems. People with dual diagnosis or other complex needs can be the most vulnerable in society and examples of people being let down by the system, with tragic consequences, are all too common. Social action whether that be volunteering, peer support or community projects can play a vital role in building people’s confidence and breaking down stigma. It can be an important step on the path to employment. There are some great examples in this report but clearly this is still happening on a relatively small scale. Moving forward we need to support community groups, health and social care services and commissioners to grow social action, recognising that it has a unique contribution to make which is different, and complimentary to, the support provided by professional-led treatment services.
Social action is about people coming together to tackle an issue, support others or improve their local area, by sharing their time and expertise through volunteering, peer-led groups and community projects. This report sets out the findings from a call for evidence on how social action can improve outcomes, prevent crisis, support recovery and develop more responsive services for people with complex needs.
Please view the full report in the following link.