Community Portal



Supporting families, friends, the community and individuals to better understand dual diagnosis.

Special thank you to the people with a lived experience of mental health and alcohol and other drugs issues as well as their loved ones who contributed to the development of this resource.

What does it mean?

Dual diagnosis means someone has both a mental health and a substance use problem such as alcohol or drug use.  It is sometimes referred to as co-morbidity.

What does it look like?

Anyone can have mental illness and addiction issues; there is no ‘face’ or ‘look’.

People can hide behind a smile, making it hard to know if someone is dealing with dual diagnosis.

Are you concerned that you, or someone you care about, may be struggling?

Please click our resources and support page.


Experiences of a client with Alcohol and Other Drugs and/or Mental Health

“Recovering is not simply the withdrawal from a drug, it is so much more. Your physical, your emotional, your mental health.”                                        



We are all on different journey, and life can be a rollercoaster but when things are getting tough make sure you look for support, ask around and find out where supports are - go to your family or doctor. Support is one of the main things you need.

You may also need to make new friends…scary right?  Think of the things you enjoy doing or maybe something new you would like to try; it might be poetry, woodwork, painting or exercise.  Search around for these groups and join one! It can be daunting meeting new people, but you are not alone, everyone gets nervous, you just need to take the first step and ‘just do it’.  

It won’t happen overnight, it will take time and patience. Be sure to look for support and ask around, it may be a friend, family member of a professional, but make sure they are not bringing negativity in your life.

Coping Strategies – Things to try

Writing about it either in a story or through poetry 


Looking’s for positives – natural happiness and endorphins

Colouring in (stress relief colouring book)

Reading a book

Relaxation/lay down time

Going for a walk

Take the dog for a walk

Blocking the negatives and being positive

Breaking the cycle of people you hang around with

Go to a quiet place alone and do some breathing for 5 minutes


Advice from people who have been there…

  • Look for support and ask around (family, ADO workers)
  • No one can change you but yourself, but you do need support at the same time
  • Have support for family members
  • You don’t need negatively
  • No one can change you only yourself
  • Just thinking twice before you ruin your life
  • Nothing changes if nothing changes
  • If you can identify it, that’s on the road to recovery, if they are forced to come here it’s not going to work
  • Since being in detox the food tastes better and I woke up feeling the best I have ever felt.
  • You still have the cravings but they will pass, you just need to keep yourself occupied on something else and it passes eventually
  • When you are in denial that’s when it’s a problem
  • It’s not going to happen overnight, it takes time and willpower

Experiences of families/friends that have a loved one with Alcohol and Other Drugs and/or Mental Health

“Way back, when things weren’t right, I knew they weren’t right, I just didn’t know to the extent because I had never had any dealings with drugs, all I could see what they my daughter wasn’t right and I knew she was taking something, but didn’t know what it was” (Family member).





Advice: Don’t be judgmental


Where to find help

The drug and alcohol hotline from within the phone book

Drug and alcohol family support


Statewide Alcohol and Other Drug counselling, information and referral.
Phone: 1800 888 236


Lifeline is a national charity providing all Australians experiencing a personal crisis with access to 24 hour crisis support and suicide prevention services.
Phone: 13 11 14


Free professional, anonymous support, 24 hours a day, seven days a week across Victoria.
Phone: 1300 651 251


Kids Helpline

Kids Helpline is Australia’s only free, private and confidential, telephone and on-line counselling service specifically for young people aged between 5 and 25.
Phone: 1800 55 1800


Narcotics Anonymous Australia
Narcotics Anonymous is a nonprofit fellowship or society of men and women for whom drugs had become a major problem. We are recovering addicts who meet regularly to help each other stay clean.
National Phoneline: 1300 652 820
Victorian Area Helpline: 03 9525 2833


Alcoholics Anonymous Australia
Having trouble with alcohol? Does your drinking worry you? Is it causing you to get into unpleasant or dangerous situations? Are family members complaining about your drinking? See if the AA program of recovery is what you need.
National helpline number: 1300 22 22 22





Last modified: Tuesday, 27 June 2017, 2:45 PM