Collaborating with Mental Health and Substance Abuse Settings

For some survivors, the effects of trauma will be alleviated with increased safety and support; for others, professional mental health or substance abuse services may also be helpful. DV programs can play a key role in helping survivors connect with the services and supports that they want and need. However, accessing any kind of mental health or substance abuse services can be challenging, and even those providers who offer trauma-specific treatment are not necessarily trauma-informed. It may be especially difficult to find providers who also understand DV and the DV-related safety risks that survivors face, such as the risk that an abusive partner may interfere with treatment.

Building relationships with peer support specialists and mental health and substance abuse providers can help to fill these gaps. In a number of states and communities, collaborating to provide cross-training, cross-consultation and even co-located services has helped to create trusted cross-sector partnerships and a more robust safety net for survivors. These collaborations have also provided opportunities for DV programs and coalitions to play a critical role in influencing the development of behavioral health services that are both DV- and trauma-informed in their communities and their states.

This section includes resources that will be useful to DV victim advocates who have built or want to build partnerships with peer support specialists and mental health and substance abuse providers.