For Professionals

From our rich epidemiological data, we know that comorbidity is so common in the general population that intervention needs to be available in everyday practice.

We are committed to generating knowledge that improves health outcomes in settings where at risk individuals present for treatment. We have developed resources for professionals working in fields that play a key role in the prevention and treatment of mental health and substance use disorders. These resources will be useful for professionals from a range of backgrounds, from primary school teachers to experienced drug and alcohol workers and clinicians. 

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Young people with comorbid disorders frequently come to the attention of a diverse range of service systems (e.g., health, social welfare, educational, and criminal justice systems), and present a significant challenge to service providers. Little research has been conducted examining the confidence of workers in responding to young clients with comorbidity. The evidence that does exist suggests they lack appropriate training and support, feel overwhelmed and fearful when dealing with comorbid clients, and have difficulty accessing appropriate training or supervision. In order to address this issue, the Australian Government Department of Health funded researchers at the Centre of Research Excellence in Mental Health and Substance Use at the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre to conduct a scoping exercise to evaluate the training and support needs of clinicians working with young clients who have AOD and/or mental health conditions. The primary aim of the scoping exercise was to provide recommendations for workforce development. By improving the capacity of the workforce to intervene with this population, the standard of care may be improved, and the enduring disability associated with mental health and AOD disorders may be reduced.


Download scoping exercise


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In 2014 the Australian Government Department of Health funded the NHMRC Centre of Research Excellence in Mental Health and Substance Use, NDARC, to update and revise the ‘Guidelines on the management of co-occurring alcohol and other drug and mental health conditions in alcohol and other drug treatment settings’. This second edition is based on the best available evidence, and was developed in consultation and collaboration with clinicians, researchers, consumers, and carers from across Australia. The Guidelines aim to:

  • Increase the knowledge and awareness of co-occurring mental health conditions in AOD treatment settings;
  • Improve the confidence and skills of AOD workers;
  • Increase the uptake of evidence-based care.

By increasing the capacity of AOD workers to respond to comorbidity, it is anticipated that the outcomes for people with co-occurring mental health conditions will be improved.

An online training program is currently under development, and will soon be available from the following website: To be notified when the training program is available, register your email address at

Hard copies of the second edition of the Guidelines are currently being distributed to AOD services Australia-wide. To check whether your service is on the distribution list, or to enquire about further hard copies of the Guidelines, please contact Dr Christina Marel on


National Comorbidity Guidelines page 245_246

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Clearing the Cloud is a portal which contains all our proven and new online prevention and treatment programs. Improve your health with effective prevention and treatment programs. You can also sign up to be part of our current treatment research trials.



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The NHMRC Centre of Research Excellence (CRE) in Mental Health and Substance Use publishes a quarterly newsletter. The purpose of the newsletter is to provide regular updates on the progress of the CRE. Each newsletter will regularly feature sections outlining the latest CRE news, new projects and publications, upcoming seminars, workshops and events. In addition, there will be feature articles focusing on particular projects and members..

To subscribe to our newsletter, enter your email address and click the 'Subscribe' button here.

Download Issue 1, 2012               Download Issue 8, 2014          

Download Issue 2, 2013               Download Issue 9, 2015            

Download Issue 3, 2013               Download Issue 10, 2015           

Download Issue 4, 2013               Download Issue 11, 2015

Download Issue 5, 2014               Download Issue 12, 2016

Download Issue 6, 2014               Download Issue 13, 2016

Download Issue 7, 2014               Download Issue 14, 2016

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Mental health conditions are common among people who use alcohol, tobacco and other drugs. Published in 2011, these booklets have been written for people who use alcohol, tobacco or other drugs who would like to know more about the most most common types of mental health conditions seen among this population : i) mood disorders; ii) anxiety disorders; iii) trauma-related disorders, iv) psychotic disorders; and iv) personality disorders. Each booklet aims to help explain why some people feel the way they do, and give suggestions about things people can do to help manage their mental health symptoms and substance use.

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These booklets for students, parents and teachers contain evidence-based information on illegal drugs. For parents and teachers, the booklets include guidance about how to talk to a young person about illegal drugs, common reasons for drug use, how to help someone who has taken a drug, and information about school-based prevention programs.  The student booklet provides accurate information on ways to prevent related drug-related harms and make informed choices.

Teacher Booklet

Parent Booklet

Student Booklet


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Pure Rush is an educational game that offers a unique, interactive and fun approach to drug education. Players learn about the negative effects of illegal drugs as they navigate through suburban, outback and cityscapes to get to a music festival. Avoiding drugs is the key to success as players race for the best “Pure Rush” time. Secondary school teachers will find this game useful in supporting Health and Physical Education lessons, and feedback from students indicates they love playing it. The game was developed by the CRE and educational game designers 2and2 in consultation with young people and funded by the Australian government Department of Health.

To read the facts behind Pure Rush and access additional drug education resources, visit the Positive Choices drug prevention portal and the Climate Schools Health and Wellbeing courses.

Click here to play Pure Rush

Note: For smoother gameplay, reduce window size. Not suitable for older browsers (e.g., internet explorer 8 and earlier). 

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Positive Choices
Positive Choices is an online portal that facilitates access to interactive evidence-based drug education resources for school communities. It provides a central access point for evidence-based information and prevention resources about alcohol, cannabis, psychostimulants, crystal methamphetamine and ecstasy, and allows users to search by drug type, by resource type, such as fact sheets, games or videos, and by age appropriateness. The resources can be used to develop lesson plans which align with the Australian Curriculum.
The portal was funded by Australian Government and developed by researchers at the Centre for Research Excellence in Mental Health and Substance Use (CREMS) at the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre (NDARC), and the National Drug Research Institute (NDRI).
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Shade is a 10 week program for reducing drinking and helping with depression. Shade uses cognitive behaviour therapy control their substance use, alcohol use and mood. Our research shows that SHADE can help you reduce your drinking and improve your mood.

For further information on the SHADE proram contact Dr Frances Kay-Lambkin