A forum in Warrnambool this week has helped people working with those battling mental health and alcohol and other drug problems to better understand trauma informed care.

The workforce development forum was hosted by Western Region Alcohol and Drug Centre (WRAD) and centred on working with people who have co-morbid alcohol and other drug and mental health conditions.
The workshop focused on trauma informed care and included a session on new and emerging drugs.
Twenty four people participated from alcohol and other drug and mental health services, Corrections, Gunditjmara Aboriginal Co-operative, and youth and family services across the Great South Coast. Presenters were researchers and practitioners from regional and metropolitan Victoria and NSW.
Clinical nurse consultant Gary Croton presented a history of dual diagnosis in Victoria, stretching from 1955 to the present day and considered the next steps to maintain and build on the gains made so far. Research fellow at the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre, Dr Christina Marel outlined the new Co-Morbidity Guidelines and Dr Stephen Bright from Edith Cowan University described new and emerging drugs, including the realities of drug markets and risks in the internet era. Associate Professor Katherine Mills provided valuable information regarding the prevalence of trauma in treatment populations and appropriate therapeutic responses.
Participants found the forum extremely worthwhile, commenting they planned to use the resource tools for case management for clients with PTSD and co-morbidity.
They also said they have better knowledge about trauma informed care and would approach it very delicately.
The forum was supported by the Commonwealth Department of Health as a key capacity building event for the range of professionals working with people that have multiple health and social problems.

Presenters at the workshop:
Gary Croton – Clinical Nurse Consultant
Mark Powell (MC ) – Dual Diagnosis Clinician
Dr Stephen Bright – Senior Lecturer of Addiction at Edith Cowan University, Psychologist
Kay-Leigh Walmsley-Sims – AOD Clinician
Assoc Prof Katherine Mills – NHMRC Senior Research Fellow, Program Director, and Director of Treatment Research for the NHMRC Centre of Research Excellence in Mental Health and Substance Use
Dr Christina Marel – Research Fellow at the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre