Substance use and mental health disorders in Europe: prevalence, models of care, and implementation in a challenging COVID-19 context
The session aims at raising awareness on the relevance and complexity of comorbidity of mental health and drug use disorders in the European countries, especially after the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic. Four presentations will be followed by a 30 minutes discussion focusing on possible responses and lessons learnt for policy and practice. The authors of the session will present 1.recent findings from a study on prevalence of psychiatric comorbidity in six European countries; 2.results from an EMCDDA trendspotter study on the impact of COVID-19 on mental health and drug use disorders in Europe; 3.identification and description of models of care to address psychiatric comorbidity: functioning and barriers to implementation; 4.a practical example of the implementation of a dual diagnosis services in Slovenia. The session will discuss key issues, needs, barriers to implementation and potential solutions to address psychiatric comorbidity in Europe at the time of COVID-19. The discussion with the panel will focus around the key issues highlighted in the different presentations, the extent and nature of the problem, how this has changed during the pandemic and what are the responses that countries should implement to target mental health disorders including substance use disorder (SUD) in an effective way. Structured diagnosis and standardized treatment of the psychiatric spectrum is required to enable stabilization – the coverage for expanses for a multiprofessional staff needs to be provided, as early treatment yields to a reduction of high indirect costs caused through SUD. The output of the session should be used to inform planning and implementation of appropriate interventions for people who use drugs with a comorbid, mostly already pre-existing psychiatric disorder.