A health professional can diagnose a mental health condition by recognising symptoms in someone’s behaviour or mood. After making a diagnosis, a suitable course of treatment will be prescribed.

Sometimes, someone with a mental health condition will be given two different diagnoses because they have more than one condition (dual diagnosis) or two health professionals have come to different outcomes after seeing and assessing the same treatment. 

The term dual diagnosis is used to refer to a person with two conditions, and does not specify the disorders. Therefore if someone has a dual diagnosis, they could have:

  • Mental health and substance misuse problems
  • Learning disability and mental health problems

Support for people with a dual diagnosis used to be provided for by two or more different service providers, for example substance misuse and mental health. However, services are developing to provide specialist care to meet the complex needs of the service user. This is can be done in the following ways:

The Care Programme Approach (CPA) is the national framework for mental health services assessment, care planning, review, care co-ordination, and service user and carer involvement focused on recovery. Find out more in the links below:

This information booklet was put together by people with lived experience and staff, and explains some of the things that can happen when people are distressed and the many different ways that the team can support you and others.

The use of force refers to physical contact by staff to safely hold you or someone else as a last resort to maintain safety to yourself and/or others, this is sometimes called ‘restraint’. All staff are trained on how to hold you safely and have their training refreshed regularly. CNWL hopes to end all use of force and is making positive steps towards this. This leaflet also outlines some of the other methods that may be used to help keep people safe including being isolated from other people and sometimes medication.

We hope that by discussing this topic with you, we can establish the best ways to support you if you become distressed. There is a lot the team can do to support you; they will work together with you to establish the best ways to support you. We hope that by having these discussions it will eliminate the need to hold you to maintain safety. The team want to be open and honest with you and to work together to provide you with the best possible care and support.

You can read the booklet by right-clicking on this link.


A health and wellbeing plan can be useful for mental health service users to help them to think about ways in which they can deal with their difficulties.