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Research Snapshot: Are the needs of people with co-occurring disorders being met?

May 2, 2013

A co-occurring disorder (CD) is diagnosed when someone has both substance use and mental health problems. A person with CD often faces more complex challenges in getting access to mental health services. Ontario researchers examined people with and without CD to find out if there are differences between these groups, and the type and amount of services they need.

Researchers studied 5,051 people in Ontario with a severe and persistent mental illness. The study participants were at least 16 years old and were enrolled in a community-based mental health program. The study results show that people with a co-occurring disorder are significantly more likely to be grossly underserved in terms of their overall level of care compared with those who do not have a co-occurring disorder. The study results also show people with a CD need substance abuse, crisis, housing, and financial supports but are not getting enough of these services from the community mental health system.

Read EENet’s Research Snapshot of the article, “Need and use of services by persons with co-occurring substance use and mental disorders within a community mental health system.” This article, by Christopher J. Koegl and others, was published in Mental Health and Substance Use, vol. 5, no. 1 (2012): 4-19.

Research Snapshots are brief, clear-language summaries of research, presented in a user-friendly format. To read EENet’s summary of this research, and others, visit

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