Treating Substance Use Problems in Youth Who Also Have Mental Health Conditions

Brigitte Manteuffel and Shannon CrossBear

Substance use and mental health conditions often co-occur among youth. Caregivers often do not know what to do when youth show signs of substance use problems. When youth have both mental health and substance use concerns, it can be especially hard to find appropriate treatment because mental health specialists often have little training in substance use disorders, and substance use disorder counselors often have little mental health education.

The Caregiver Guide: Substance Use Disorder Treatment Planning for Youth with Co-Occurring Disorders is designed to provide caregivers with a single source of information relevant to treating co-occurring substance use disorders and mental health conditions. Topics covered include understanding and identifying substance use problems, best practices in substance use treatment, finding and paying for services, continuing care planning, and helpful resources. The Guide encourages caregivers to find support for themselves, obtain an assessment of their youth, decide what is best for their family, ask questions, investigate costs and coverage, and plan for after treatment.  

This Guide was produced by behavioral health experts at AIR with support from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.