Sunday, October 15, 2006

Montana adopts integrated treatment model

Substance abuse and mental illness, long treated as distant cousins, become conjoined in the latest treatment model in Montana.

Community Program Officer Mary Jane Fox with Montana’s Addictive and Mental Disorders Division came before the Kalispell Mental Health Local Advisory Council recently with a clear message.

“Individuals with co-occurring disorders need to be thought of as the expectation, not the exception,” Fox said.

To move toward integration, Montana contracted two top experts, Dr. Ken Minkoof and Dr. Chris Cline, for training and consultation.

Their model stresses screening every mental illness client for substance abuse and every substance abuse client for mental illness in a welcoming atmosphere. Success comes from “empathetic, hopeful, continuous treatment relationships.”

“There is no one correct treatment approach,” Fox said. “Everyone is an individual.”

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