News

  • Supporting Those Who ServeBy: Cicely K. Burrows-McElwain, LSCW-C, Military and Veteran Affairs Liasion, SAMHSA's Office of Policy, Planning and Development In or out of uniform, many service members return home to communities where they continue to lead and contribute. For some military personnel, returning home can be challenging. And the impact of deployment and trauma-related stress not only affects military members and veterans but also their families and others who may provide support. Many military personnel fear they will experience discrimination for seeking or receiving behavioral health treatment services. Our friends, family, and neighbors may be struggling and not recognize the signs, or they may not feel comfortable asking for help.
  • SAMHSA Joins with Entertainers Torrey and Liberty DeVitto to Emphasize the Dangers of Underage Drinking and Substance UseBy: Robert M. Vincent, Public Health Analyst, SAMHSA’s Center for Substance Abuse Prevention During adolescence, young people have new life experiences and enjoy greater freedom but are also exposed to peer pressure. One result of peer pressure is that many teens experiment with alcohol and other substances. According to SAMHSA’s 2017 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, an estimated 7.4 million people ages 12 to 20 reported consuming alcohol in the past month. The data also found that – in addition to alcohol – marijuana, prescription pain relievers and cigarettes were the next three substances used most frequently by youth trying a substance for the first time.
  • Safely Dispose of Prescription Drugs – National Prescription Take Back Day 2018By: Frances M. Harding, Director, SAMHSA’s Center for Substance Abuse Prevention Results from the 2017 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) show that an estimated 6.0 million Americans aged 12 or older misused psychotherapeutic drugs (pain relievers, tranquilizers, stimulants, and sedatives) at least once in the past month. Prescription drug misuse continues to be a major public health problem in the United States, specifically prescription pain relievers.  Misuse of prescription pain relievers represents the second most common type of illicit drug use.  Prescription drug misuse is use of a drug in any way not directed by a doctor or other prescriber. This includes:
  • New Tool Offers Hope to People Experiencing Early Serious Mental Illness and their FamiliesBy: Paolo del Vecchio, M.S.W., Director, SAMHSA Center for Mental Health Services One of the most important advances in treating serious mental illness in recent years is improving care for people experiencing a first onset of serious mental illness. We know that early phases of psychosis can be identified, and that team based coordinated specialty care treatment reduces the likelihood of long-term disability. SAMHSA’s new Early Serious Mental Illness Treatment Locator will help connect people experiencing a first onset of serious mental illness to effective care. Similar to SAMHSA’s Behavioral Health Treatment Services Locator, this online tool users to search for specialty programs that treat early serious mental illness, including first episode psychosis. Each program listing includes eligibility criteria, including age range and diagnoses treated, services provided, location and contact information. This information can serve as a lifeline to people who urgently need help.
  • Using Data to Improve Effective Responses to Individuals in CrisisBy: Paolo del Vecchio, M.S.W., Director, SAMHSA Center for Mental Health Services
  • From a Physician Assistant in Fairbanks to a Vending Machine in Interior Alaska: Witnessing Tribal Health Solutions FirsthandBy: Eric D. Hargan, Deputy Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services Cross posted from the HHS Blog Summary: After visiting tribal communities in interior Alaska, Deputy Secretary Hargan praised the quality of care at Alaska Native health facilities. A key piece to success in serving the American people involves going to them in person and hearing what is important in their lives. That was the reason that a large delegation from HHS recently made the trip to the interior of Alaska. Our delegation visited with Alaska Native community leaders and families in Allakaket, Alatna, Hughes, Koyukuk, Manley, Tanana, Rampart, and Fairbanks. Through community meetings and tours of healthcare facilities, we heard about everything from the latest in Telehealth technology and medicine “vending machines” to Head Start and eldercare and the continuing challenges of clean drinking water and waste disposal.
  • Let’s Help our Youth Change the Way They Look at Mental HealthBy: Anita Everett, M.D., DFAPA, Chief Medical Officer Mental health is central to everyone’s well-being, particularly adolescents, teens, and young adults. Our youth are active in their communities where they initiate growth, lead and contribute. However, in many cases, some young people face additional challenges that can take a toll on their well-being, including suffering from mental illness. This year, the World Health Organization (WHO) has chosen youth as the focus of World Mental Health Day 2018 with its theme, “Young People and Mental Health in a Changing World.”
  • For Beating the Opioid Crisis, America has Better Weapons than Fentanyl Test StripsBy: Elinore F. McCance-Katz, M.D., Ph.D., Assistant Secretary for Mental Health and Substance Use The opioids crisis is affecting communities across the nation. The disease of opioid use disorder does not discriminate. As the Assistant Secretary for Mental Health and Substance Use, I believe strongly that we must do all we can to stem the tide of this crisis; however, I believe we must take measured, well-thought-out and responsible steps to do this. The temptation to develop seemingly quick solutions is understandable but I urge the nation to proceed instead with caution.
  • Why Should Providers Ask this Critical Question…?By: Elinore F. McCance-Katz, M.D., Ph.D., Assistant Secretary of Mental Health and Substance Use When individuals enter the field of healthcare, they are driven by a passion to assist others in achieving their best state of wellness. No matter their respective professional backgrounds, all health providers recognize the value of strong screening and assessments. We spend time and effort in screening to ensure that quality care can be delivered. Ideally, care that is both person-centered and that results in individualized treatment planning that meets the needs of the unique patient.
  • Preventing Suicide in Tribal Communities—and BeyondBy: Paolo del Vecchio, M.S.W., Director, SAMHSA Center for Mental Health Services Each September 10, the International Association for Suicide Prevention sponsors World Suicide Prevention Day. Here in the United States, overall suicide rates have increased significantly since 1999 in almost every state, but suicide affects some groups far more than others. As we observe World Suicide Prevention Day, I’d like to call attention to the effect suicide has on tribal communities. American Indian and Alaska Native youth ages 15-24 die by suicide at a rate four times the overall rate for this age group. Alarmingly, these suicides often occur in clusters—multiple suicides within a social group or small community in a short time.