Falling Through the Cracks: Supporting Young People with Dual Diagnosis in Rural and Regional Victoria Academic Article uri icon


  • Research has indicated that people with a dual diagnosis of mental illness and substance abuse are more difficult to manage than any other group of mentally ill clients. For young people with a dual diagnosis, particularly in rural and regional areas, there are significant barriers to the provision of optimal care. Currently, a lack of communication between mental health, drug and alcohol services and consumers results in the inadequate provision of treatment for young people, with a resultant significant service gap. Dual diagnosis programs that focus on both substance abuse and mental health issues demonstrate greatly improved client outcomes. Developing a peer education program provides one constructive way of involving dual diagnosis consumers in developing more responsive health services. It provides a highly structured and supported way of involving consumers who ordinarily find mental health services bewildering and inaccessible. By drawing on the knowledge and skills of young people with dual diagnosis, and involving them as peer educators, the notion of expertise in lived experience is captured and harnessed to provide the establishment of a consumer-focused service that better meets the needs of this complex, often neglected, client group.


  • Kenny, Amanda
  • Kidd, Susan
  • Tuena, Jenni
  • Jarvis, Melanie
  • Roberston, Angela

publication date

  • 2006