There is a strong connection between substance use disorders and mental health. Substance use can sometimes lead to mental health concerns—and vice versa—and both substance use and mental health issues often have similar causes, such as experiencing trauma. Child welfare and other related professionals should understand the connections between these two topics, know how to screen and assess for both substance use and mental health issues, and provide referrals to the appropriate supports and services, including State and local examples.
Bringing Families Together: Models of Hope and Recovery
Center for Children and Family Futures & Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (2012)
Presents a video on how communities are strengthening linkages and overcoming barriers among child welfare, behavioral/mental health services, substance use treatment, and the court systems to improve outcomes for children and families.
Facts for Policymakers: The Need for an Integrated System of Care for Youth With Traumatic Stress and Substance Use Disorders (PDF - 321 KB)
National Child Traumatic Stress Network (2011)
Presents statistics on trauma exposure and substance abuse among adolescents. Offers suggestions for community-based programs to identify and support at-risk youth that give specific attention to gender differences and at-risk youths' individualized needs.
National Council for Behavioral Health, State Associations of Addictions Services
Presents the website of a membership organization of community behavioral/mental health and addiction treatment organizations consisting of more than 2,200 member organizations serving some of the United States' most vulnerable citizens—the more than 8 million adults and children living with mental illnesses and addictions.
The National GAINS Center for Behavioral Health and Justice Transformation
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration
Provides technical assistance and support to professionals and communities in the field of behavioral health and criminal justice to achieve integrated systems of mental health and substance use services.
National Registry of Evidence-Based Programs and Practices
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration
Serves as a database of interventions for the prevention and treatment of mental and substance use disorders.
NASW Standards for Social Work Practice With Clients With Substance Use Disorders (PDF - 146 KB)
National Association of Social Workers (2013)
Developed to broadly define the scope of services that social workers shall provide to clients with substance use disorders, that clients and their families should expect, and that program administrators should support. The standards are also designed to enhance awareness of the skills, knowledge, values, methods, and sensitivities that social workers need to work effectively within systems dedicated to serving clients with substance use disorders.
Research to Practice Brief: Supporting Children of Parents With Co-Occurring Mental Illness and Substance Abuse (PDF - 1,500 KB)
National Abandoned Infants Assistance Resource Center
Presents a research brief on the co-occurrence of mental illness and substance abuse in mothers and the need to support the children in these families. The brief describes risk factors for children with parents that have a co-occurring behavioral health and substance abuse disorder and recommends interventions to address their unique needs. The brief also addresses trauma-informed support for mothers, such as nurturing mothers and parenting interventions.
Supporting Children of Parents With Co-Occurring Mental Illness and Substance Abuse (PDF - 1,485 KB)
National Abandoned Infants Assistance Resource Center
Explores the impact of parental co-occurring disorders and ways to address the unique and complicated needs specific to children of parents with co-occurring disorders. This research to practice brief offers recommended interventions for supporting children at different ages, as well as trauma-informed support for mothers and supportive agency practices.
Supporting Infants, Toddlers, and Families Impacted by Caregiver Mental Health Problems, Substance Abuse, and Trauma: A Community Action Guide
Maschinot & Cohen (2012)
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration & ZERO TO THREE
Presents resources service providers, advocates, and practitioners can use to better understand and engage the community in responding to children whose caregivers are negatively impacted by mental illness, substance abuse, or trauma using a case-study approach.
Trauma-Informed Care for Families Affected by Substance Use Disorders [Webinar]
National Center on Substance Abuse and Child Welfare (2015)
Explores the systems and practice level changes that can be made by agencies that serve families affected by substance use disorders to provide trauma-informed care.
Draft Behavioral Health Assessment and Plan for the Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment Block Grant (PDF - 2,000 KB)
Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (2013)
Presents the Tennessee behavioral health assessment and plan to meet the requirements for receiving the Federal substance abuse prevention and treatment block grant. The document outlines the State's plan for the Health Insurance Marketplace including information on the provision of services for diverting person with mental and/or substance abuse disorders from correctional settings.
New York State Health Foundation: Integrating Mental Health and Substance Abuse Care
Isaacs, Jellinek, Garcel, Hunt, & Bunch (2013)
Health Affairs, 32(10)
Describes a collaboration between the New York State Health Foundation, the State Office of Mental Health, and the State Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services to remove financial and regulatory barriers to integrate the treatment of people with co-occurring disorders.
Stakeholder Recommendations for Mental Health and Substance Use Disorder Services Presented to the California Department of Health Care Services and it’s County Partners (PDF - 21,900)
California Institute for Mental Health & Alcohol and Other Drug Policy Institute (2013)
Presents stakeholder-informed guidance for addressing critical mental health (MH) and substance use disorder (SUD) services. The report identifies critical public policy and/or funding issues in California's community-based MH and SUD systems in order to help the State's Department of Health Care Services develop short- and long-term goals to guide it and its partner counties in their administration of these services.