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1.0 Purpose of the Guideline


To provide a framework for the planning, coordination and delivery of community mental health and developmental services and supports that will promote better access to both sectors for persons 18 years and older with a dual diagnosis.

2.0 Context


In 1997 the Ministries of Community and Social Services (MCSS) and Health and Long-Term Care (MOHLTC) released a joint Guideline on dual diagnosis that updated earlier documents. The Guideline provided a definition of dual diagnosis and expectations for how the funded community service sectors of both Ministries would work together to provide supports to this population. Since 1997 there have been many changes in the ministries and sectors as well as a growing understanding of the needs and challenges of adults with a dual diagnosis. As a result there is a need to update the 1997 Dual Diagnosis Guideline to reflect current structures and to restate the expectations for cooperative supports to this population. It is also the intention of the two ministries to review the Guideline on a regular basis.

3.0 Vision


Community mental health and developmental services for persons with a dual diagnosis and their families will be integrated, coordinated and operate responsively and proactively both within and across sectors.

4.0 Principles


Persons with a developmental disability may have mental health needs that require different types and intensity of service response from both the community mental health and developmental services systems. Interventions should be appropriate to address the individual’s circumstances and needs and should progress as required along the continuum from the least restrictive and least intrusive to the most specialized response. Health, mental health and developmental services all have a role in the provision of services and supports to people with a dual diagnosis. The development of cross-sector linkages will serve to:
  • Strengthen community capacity to address the needs of those with a dual diagnosis through the provision of a coordinated, integrated and flexible service response;
  • Promote cross-sector planning to facilitate access to local services in the health, mental health and developmental services sectors;
  • Engage consumers, families/natural supports1 and service providers as partners in the planning and delivery of services.

Education and training initiatives will work to integrate and promote increased knowledge and skills regarding service provision for people with a dual diagnosis. These initiatives will be based on academic research where available and promote evidence-based practices.