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Co-Occurring Disorders

Selected Program: Maintaining Independence and Sobriety through Systems Integration, Outreach, and Networking (MISSION)


A program focused on co-occurring disorders (rather than substance use disorders [SUDs] or mental illnesses alone) is important because almost 40% of Americans with a SUD also have a mental health issue. That adds up to 7.9 million out of the 20.2 million people living with SUDs (SAMHSA, 2017a).

Maintaining Independence and Sobriety through Systems Integration, Outreach, and Networking (MISSION) is a program designed to treat individuals with co-occurring disorders (CODs) by focusing on community engagement and independent living. It utilizes other evidence-based techniques and programs to help people reach their personal goals while also receiving proper treatment (The MISSION Model, 2017).

The five components of MISSION are:

  1. Critical Time Intervention—linking participants to treatment providers
  2. Dual Recovery Therapy—simultaneous treatment for SUD and mental illness
  3. Peer Support—a person who has experience living with a mental health problem and/or SUD facilitates the group
  4. Vocational Support—use of evidence-based practices to help participants secure employment
  5. Trauma-Informed Care—deliver trauma-informed services and refer clients to appropriate emergency or crisis providers when necessary

While all versions are based around these five components, there are specific implementation frameworks for homeless people, veterans, and individuals involved in the criminal justice system.


  • To help people with co-occurring substance use and mental health disorders transition to living independently and thriving in the community
  • To engage participants in vocational and educational rehabilitation programs
  • To assist participants in achieving their personal goals and engaging with the community while receiving outpatient treatment for substance use and mental health disorders


Program Website:

Age Group



Male, Female

IOM Classification


Possible Implementation Settings

  • Correctional facilities
  • Counseling centers
  • Drug courts
  • Health clinics
  • Inpatient/outpatient treatment centers
  • Public health agencies
  • Veterans’ centers

Cost Associated and How to Purchase/Access

Treatment manuals available FREE online in PDF format for you to print. The homeless and criminal justice versions are also available in Spanish.

How to Access

  • Most components available online
  • You’ll get a password for the hidden parts of the website once you complete the training
  • Need to contact MISSION staff yourself to see where to begin

Important Note

While the materials are free and accessible online, you need permission to use and distribute them. Contact MISSION staff to get started, or to request more information.

Program Contact

David Smelson, Psy.D, Professor and Vice Chair of Psychiatry, UMass Medical School

(508) 856-6575

Training Information

Required trainings available as interactive online webinars (must contact MISSION staff to get started with the program and get access to the training content).

Additional (optional) trainings available as online webinars, can pick and choose based on the needs of your agency/population (examples: cultural competence, motivational interviewing, trauma-informed care).

Pros & Cons

Has relapse prevention componentsDependent on MISSION staff to respond to email or phone call in order to get started (can take a long time)
Integrates many other evidence-based programs too (e.g., for job placement)Very detailed—will need to convince your agency that another complicated intervention is necessary
Manuals available online to print for free
Teaches coping strategies
Uses a peer support model

Why I Chose This Program Over Others

I chose this program over others because of its focus on specific populations. In Idaho there are 1,966 homeless people, with 755 of those in Ada County (Boise/Ada Homeless Coalition, 2016). MISSION has a version designed to work with homeless people in order to address their substance use and/or mental health disorders, which are common underlying reasons for homelessness. There are also implementation frameworks for veterans and for people involved in the criminal justice system. MISSION is customizable, so you can adapt the program to target any combination of those groups (for example: homeless veterans or veterans involved in the criminal justice system).

Honorable Mention

SHADE (Self-Help for Alcohol and Other Drug Use and Depression) Computer-Delivered Treatment

An online program for people struggling with both depression and substance abuse


Boise/Ada County Homeless Coalition. (2016). Basic facts on homelessness. Retrieved from

National Registry of Evidence-based Programs and Practices. (2015). Maintaining independence and sobriety through systems integration, outreach, and networking (MISSION). 

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. (2017a). Mental and substance use disorders. Retrieved from

The MISSION Model. (2017). What is MISSION? Retrieved from