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I A.Primary focus of agency as stated in the mission statement. (If program has mission, consider program mission)

Element Details


Programs that offer treatment for individuals with co-occurring disorders should have this philosophy reflected in their mission statements.


Agency or program brochure or in frames on walls of offices or waiting areas.

Item Response Coding:

Coding of this item requires an understanding and review of the program’s mission statement, specifically as it reflects a co-occurring disorders orientation.

  • Mental Health Only Services = (SCORE-1): Mental health only. The program has a mission statement that outlines its mission to be the treatment of a primary target population who are defined as individuals with mental health disorders only.

  • Dual Diagnosis Capable = (SCORE-3): Primary focus is mental health, co-occurring disorders are treated. The program has a mission statement that identifies a primary target population as being individuals with mental health disorders, but the statement also indicates an expectation and willingness to admit individuals with a co-occurring mental health disorder and to address that disorder, at least within the context of addiction treatment. The term “co-occurring disorders” does not need to be used specifically in the mission statement.

  • An example of a mission statement that might meet the DDC level would be one similar to the following. Note that a specific population is identified, but it also incorporates a willingness to treat the person comprehensively and provide the necessary arrays of services.

    “The mission of the Mental Health Board is to improve the quality of life for adults with serious and persistent mental illness and children with serious mental illness or severe emotional disturbance. This is accomplished by ensuring access to an integrated network of effective and culturally competent behavioral health services that are matched to persons’ needs and preferences, thus promoting consumer rights, responsibilities, rehabilitation, and recovery.”

  • Dual Diagnosis Enhanced = (SCORE-5): Primary focus on persons with co-occurring disorders. The program has a mission statement that identifies the program as designed to treat individuals with co-occurring disorders. The statement notes that the program has the capacity to treat both mental health and substance use disorders equally.

  • “The Behavioral Health Unit is a private, non-profit organization dedicated to supporting the recovery of families and individuals who experience co-occurring mental health and substance use disorders.”

Enhancing MHOS Programs

Programs scoring a 1 for this item likely have a more traditional mission statement, such as: “The Mental Health Board is dedicated to assisting persons with mental health problems regain control over their lives.”

Revising a mission statement is emblematic of a “sea change” in leadership philosophy and commitment, even though the new mission statement may not directly or immediately affect the clinical practices at a program. Consider this subtle shift in the last phrase of the mission statement: “The Mental Health Board is dedicated to assisting persons initiate a process of recovery from mental health and its associated problems.”

A DDC mission statement is characterized by a clear willingness to treat individuals with co-occurring disorders. Often this is communicated in overarching terminology, such as “behavioral health” or “recovery.” Here is an example: “The Recovery Resources Program is committed to offering a full range of behavioral health services to promote well-being and lifelong recovery.”

Enhancing DDC Programs

DDC programs have scored a 3 on this item. It is likely that the mission statement reflects a program philosophy that recognizes comorbid substance use disorders as secondary to mental health disorders. A DDE program mission statement is characterized by an equivalent focus on substance use and mental health problems. It will include the term “co-occurring disorders” or clearly encompass both mental health and addiction treatment services.

Some providers take issue with the “behavioral health” terminology, arguing that it may connote a less than holistic (or perhaps mechanistic) approach to health care. Alternative terminology that can embrace co-existing mental health and substance use disorders is also fitting.