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By Paolo del Vecchio, MSW; SAMHSA Executive Officer

As a person with lived experience of mental illness, addictions, and trauma, I consider July 26 - the 31st anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) - to be our nation’s second Independence Day. For the millions of us with disabilities, it is a day to celebrate our freedom. Freedom from discrimination and the barriers that block our inclusion in community life. Freedom from unjustified segregation and institutionalization. Freedom to earn and to learn. Freedom to pursue recovery and receive services and supports – including mental health and addiction services – that help us participate fully in American life.
As an employee with SAMHSA for over 26 years, I am proud of our leadership in protecting the rights of people with mental illness and/or addictions including:

My Test, My Way – My contribution to Ending the HIV Epidemic in the U.S.

Kristin Roha, MS, MPH, SAMHSA Public Health Advisor for HIV

On June 27th of each year, National HIV Testing Day (NHTD) reminds us of the importance of HIV testing and gives us the opportunity to share HIV testing resources. Getting tested for HIV is easy, fast, confidential, and safe, and is the first step in knowing your HIV status. For people who test positive for HIV, getting tested is the gateway to accessing lifesaving treatment. For people who test negative for HIV, getting tested can provide empowering information that can help make them decisions about sex, drug use, and health care. For people at risk for HIV, a negative test can also be the gateway to accessing powerful preventive tools, including pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP). 

40 Years of Progress – It’s Time to End the HIV Epidemic

By Kristin Roha, MS, MPH, SAMHSA Public Health Advisor for HIV

June 5th marks 40 years since the first five cases of what later became known as AIDS were officially reported by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR). June 5th also is observed as HIV Long-Term Survivor’s Day. On this 40th anniversary, SAMHSA commemorates the more than 32 million people, including 700,000 in the United States, who have died from AIDS-related illness globally since the start of the epidemic, and honors the resilience of long-term HIV survivors and the vital role they play within our communities.

By Victoria Chau, Social Science Analyst, SAMHSA Office of Behavioral Health Equity, Perry Chan, Public Health Advisor, SAMHSA Office of Behavioral Health Equity

By Anita Everett M.D. DFAPA, Director, Center for Mental Health Services

988: The New National Suicide Prevention Lifeline Number
The past several years have marked several groundbreaking developments with respect to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1-800-273-TALK). In fiscal year (FY) 2001, SAMHSA awarded a competitive, discretionary grant to establish a network of crisis centers that would respond to crisis calls from their local communities, to ensure those crisis center counselors were trained, and that all crisis centers in the network met standards for accreditation. A single national number was established, which in 2005 became the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (Lifeline; 800-273-8255 (TALK)). The Lifeline answered more than 2.1 million calls and 234,671 chats in FY 2020.

By Dona Dmitrovic, Director, Center for Substance Abuse Prevention

The global coronavirus pandemic has forced us to learn new ways of doing many things. Employees in some job sectors learned to work from home, while others had to find entirely new sources of income. Parents learned to be teachers for their kids, while teachers themselves learned to do their jobs in less-than-ideal remote environments. We figured out how to use technology to celebrate birthday parties, host award shows, and even conduct a presidential inauguration.
One thing we can do to benefit ourselves as a nation is talking with friends, family, and neighbors about underage drinking and adult problem drinking prevention.

Anita Everett M.D. DFAPA, Director, Center for Mental Health Services

National suicide rates are rising, and this is especially true for our nation’s youth suicide rate. Suicide is largely a preventable cause of death, and you are more able to help prevent it than you might think.
Suicide is the result of actions being connected to a self-harm idea.  Many more people think about suicide than those who die by suicide; however, no one dies by suicide without having thought about it first. There is a thinking-planning phase followed by an action phase. The thinking phase is different for different people: Sometimes it is recurring and intense. Other times it may be fleeting.
There is a suicide sequence that can be interrupted, and those interruptions can be lifesaving. There are several strategies for preventing suicide that have been developed for various settings.  Generally, there are several components in these trainings that aim to separate a person’s thinking of suicide from their acting on suicidal thoughts.

Roxana A. Hernandez, MPH, Shayla C. Anderson, MPH, CHES, Mary Roary, PhD, MBA - Oficina Equidad en Salud Mental (OBHE)

By Roxana A. Hernandez, MPH, Shayla C. Anderson, MPH, CHES, Mary Roary, PhD, MBA - Office of Behavioral Health Equity

By Robert Baillieu M.D., M.P.H., Physician and Senior Clinical and Practice Advisor,  Center for Substance Abuse Treatment

In managing or preventing substance use disorders, nothing should occur in isolation. People and systems of care are complex. They require frequent observation, assessment and understanding. To this end, systems focused on medical models, statistics and abstract ideas do not take fully into account the reality of a patient’s situation and place too great an emphasis on the individual as being the source of their own suffering. Such paradigms, while accepting that individuals must make their own health decisions, perhaps negate the influence of social systems and existing policy on health outcomes. In working towards the prevention of substance use disorders, it is important to appreciate those social determinants of health, policies and actions that precipitate adverse outcomes. Furthermore, empowering stakeholders to engage with clinicians and policy makers on issues related to treatment and prevention, is an essential step in understanding what is needed, and how best practices might be implemented.

By: Dona Dmitrovic, Director, Center for Substance Abuse Prevention
In a world filled with a seemingly endless number of troubling headlines, it seems that everyone is looking for a bit of good news these days. And here it is: Underage drinking and substance misuse prevention is making an impact across the country!
According to SAMHSA’s National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), instances of any alcohol use by individuals under age 21 have decreased since 2002. And between 2002 and 2019, current drinking by 12- to 20-year-olds declined from 29 percent to 19 percent.

As we celebrate Women’s History Month, we want to take time to celebrate the diverse, brilliant women across this nation who keep everything going at home and work, within community organizations and faith institutions, and in every aspect of life. We celebrate the women from our history who have helped to shape us as individuals and as a nation. We hope this note speaks in a positive way to every woman who reads or is served by this message.

By: HIV.gov. This blog was posted on HIV.gov on February 3, 2021.

The HHS Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) has released Prevention and Treatment of HIV Among People Living with Substance Use and/or Mental Disorders, a guidebook that addresses the co-occurrence of HIV and mental illness and/or substance use disorder (SUD) and reviews effective programs and practices to prevent HIV and, for those with HIV, to increase linkage and retention to care in order to improve health outcomes.

Kristin Roha, MS, MPH, Public Health Advisor for HIV, and Dr. Neeraj Gandotra, M.D., Chief Medical Officer

Established in 1988, World AIDS Day allows the people of the world to show support for people living with and affected by HIV, and to commemorate people who have lost their lives to AIDS. In 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic has provided an urgent reminder that pandemics can devastate communities, lives, and livelihoods. The theme for World AIDS Day 2020 is “Ending the HIV/AIDS Epidemic: Resilience and Impact.” We at SAMHSA have seen how the COVID-19 crisis has exacerbated the challenges faced by people living with HIV, substance use disorder, and mental disorder. SAMHSA is proud to stand with our federal partners, our grantees, and the people of the world in observing World AIDS Day 2020.

By: Roxana Hernandez, MPH; Shayla Anderson, MPH, CHES; Victoria Chau, Ph.D., MPH; Larke Huang, Ph.D., SAMHSA Office of Behavioral Health Equity

By: Elinore F. McCance-Katz, M.D., Ph.D., Assistant Secretary for Mental Health and Substance Use

Each and every day, SAMHSA works to ensure that substance misuse is prevented in America’s communities and that our nation’s mental health is strong. May marks Mental Health Awareness Month and this week, marks National Prevention Week.
The value of prevention cannot be overstated. Particularly, in these difficult times, we know that many may turn to substances to cope with the new stressors we are all now faced with. I have been inspired by community prevention efforts across this country. Preventionists who have already dedicated themselves to this cause have redoubled their efforts to create innovative solutions to provide prevention services while observing social distancing and stay-at-home orders.

By: Elinore F. McCance-Katz, M.D., Ph.D., Assistant Secretary for Mental Health and Substance Use

Each and every day, SAMHSA works to ensure that substance misuse is prevented in America’s communities and that our nation’s mental health is strong. May marks Mental Health Awareness Month and this week, marks National Prevention Week.
The value of prevention cannot be overstated. Particularly, in these difficult times, we know that many may turn to substances to cope with the new stressors we are all now faced with. I have been inspired by community prevention efforts across this country. Preventionists who have already dedicated themselves to this cause have redoubled their efforts to create innovative solutions to provide prevention services while observing social distancing and stay-at-home orders.

By: Neeraj Gandotra, M.D., Chief Medical Officer

On World AIDS day, SAMHSA is privileged to work with our federal, state, and local partners in our collective effort in Ending the HIV Epidemic. SAMHSA’s role in this effort is critical as the link between mental and substance use disorders and HIV is prominent. Addressing the mental and substance use disorders of individuals is critical in addressing the eradication of HIV.

By: Neeraj Gandotra, M.D., Chief Medical Officer

By: Roslyn Holliday Moore, Public Health Analyst, and Victoria Chau, Public Health Analyst, SAMHSA Office of Behavioral Health Equity

By: Roslyn Holliday Moore, Public Health Analyst, and Victoria Chau, Public Health Analyst, SAMHSA Office of Behavioral Health Equity

By: Johnnetta Davis-Joyce, M.A., Director, SAMHSA’s Center for Substance Abuse Prevention 

By: Johnnetta Davis-Joyce, M.A., Director, SAMHSA’s Center for Substance Abuse Prevention 

By: Victoria Chau, Public Health Analyst, SAMHSA Office of Behavioral Health Equity and Roslyn Holliday-Moore, Public Health Analyst, SAMHSA Office of Behavioral Health Equity

Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders are the fastest growing population in the United States, representing numerous cultures, histories, languages and socio-demographic characteristics. While recognizably diverse, Asian and Pacific Islanders are not so different when it comes to their attitudes about mental health. Stigma associated with mental health problems is common in Asian and Pacific Islander communities. Shaming related to mental health problems is a cultural norm in some Asian communities, leading many who have mental health problems to avoid seeking help despite the need. 

By: Victoria Chau, Public Health Analyst, SAMHSA Office of Behavioral Health Equity and Roslyn Holliday-Moore, Public Health Analyst, SAMHSA Office of Behavioral Health Equity

Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders are the fastest growing population in the United States, representing numerous cultures, histories, languages and socio-demographic characteristics. While recognizably diverse, Asian and Pacific Islanders are not so different when it comes to their attitudes about mental health. Stigma associated with mental health problems is common in Asian and Pacific Islander communities. Shaming related to mental health problems is a cultural norm in some Asian communities, leading many who have mental health problems to avoid seeking help despite the need. 

By: Anita Everett, M.D., DFAPA, Director, SAMHSA Center for Mental Health Services

Our population is aging. Approximately 75 million Americans will be over age 65 by 2030.  Additionally, a 2012 study from the Institute on Medicine found that approximately one in five older adults in the U.S. experience a mental illness, substance use disorder, or both.  That ratio, should it still exist in 2030, equates to approximately 15 million people.
 

By: Anita Everett, M.D., DFAPA, Director, SAMHSA Center for Mental Health Services
Our population is aging. Approximately 75 million Americans will be over age 65 by 2030.  Additionally, a 2012 study from the Institute on Medicine found that approximately one in five older adults in the U.S. experience a mental illness, substance use disorder, or both.  That ratio, should it still exist in 2030, equates to approximately 15 million people.
 

By: Elinore F. McCance-Katz, M.D., Ph.D., Assistant Secretary for Mental Health and Substance Use

This week marks the first full week of Mental Health Awareness Month.  I am pleased to share that we have started this week with SAMHSA’s 14th Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day. The focus of this event was on suicide prevention in our youth.  We chose to focus on this issue because of the disturbing and unacceptable rate of suicide in young Americans. Suicide is one of the ten leading causes of death in the United States and the numbers who die by suicide have only increased in recent years. The rate of youth suicide increased by 49% from 9.7 per 100,000 in 2007 to 14.5 per 100,000 in 2017. 

By: Elinore F. McCance-Katz, M.D., Ph.D., Assistant Secretary for Mental Health and Substance Use

This week marks the first full week of Mental Health Awareness Month.  I am pleased to share that we have started this week with SAMHSA’s 14th Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day. The focus of this event was on suicide prevention in our youth.  We chose to focus on this issue because of the disturbing and unacceptable rate of suicide in young Americans. Suicide is one of the ten leading causes of death in the United States and the numbers who die by suicide have only increased in recent years. The rate of youth suicide increased by 49% from 9.7 per 100,000 in 2007 to 14.5 per 100,000 in 2017. 

By: Anita Everett, M.D., DFAPA, Director, SAMHSA Center for Mental Health Services

 

By: Elinore F. McCance-Katz, MD, PhD, Assistant Secretary for Mental Health and Substance Use

I write this today not to provide a listing of programs that my agency has funded nor an update on how we are doing in addressing the opioid crisis. I write this as a physician seeking the help of my fellow physicians and healthcare colleagues around the country.

By: Elinore F. McCance-Katz, MD, PhD, Assistant Secretary for Mental Health and Substance Use

I write this today not to provide a listing of programs that my agency has funded nor an update on how we are doing in addressing the opioid crisis. I write this as a physician seeking the help of my fellow physicians and healthcare colleagues around the country.

By: Anita Everett, M.D., DFAPA, Director, SAMHSA Center for Mental Health Services

Bipolar Disorder is a condition that includes episodes of disabling depression and periods of uncontrollable energy.  It is common for all of us to have some changes in mood; Bipolar Disorder however is a brain disorder that includes extreme depression and periods of mania. Symptoms of the disease can vary, but it is important to know that this disorder can be treated with mood stabilizing medication as a foundation. Psychotherapy is often an important component of full recovery and ability to manage the illness over time.  

By: Anita Everett, M.D., DFAPA, Director, SAMHSA Center for Mental Health Services

Bipolar Disorder is a condition that includes episodes of disabling depression and periods of uncontrollable energy.  It is common for all of us to have some changes in mood; Bipolar Disorder however is a brain disorder that includes extreme depression and periods of mania. Symptoms of the disease can vary, but it is important to know that this disorder can be treated with mood stabilizing medication as a foundation. Psychotherapy is often an important component of full recovery and ability to manage the illness over time.  

By: Roslyn Holliday-Moore, Public Health Analyst, SAMHSA Office of Behavioral Health Equity and Victoria Chau, Public Health Analyst, SAMHSA Office of Behavioral Health Equity

Most people know that physical activity can reduce risk for heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and other chronic diseases, but fewer know that it is also important for mental health. Research suggests that exercise and physical activity can help to improve symptoms of anxiety and depression. People of color, particularly youth, are less likely to be physically active compared to Whites and, in general, as people get older they exercise less. Since the U.S. population is becoming more racially diverse, more people are at risk for inactivity. April is National Minority Health Month, led by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Minority Health. Recognizing the risks of inactivity, the theme this year is “Active and Healthy.”

By: Roslyn Holliday-Moore, Public Health Analyst, SAMHSA Office of Behavioral Health Equity and Victoria Chau, Public Health Analyst, SAMHSA Office of Behavioral Health Equity

By Luis Vasquez, LICSW, Acting Director, SAMHSA Center for Substance Abuse Prevention

During Alcohol Awareness Month each April, the nation takes note of the progress in reducing rates of underage drinking and celebrate the efforts of communities across the country who are working together to prevent underage alcohol use.

 
By: Luis Vasquez, LICSW, Acting Director, SAMHSA Center for Substance Abuse Prevention
During Alcohol Awareness Month each April, the nation takes note of the progress in reducing rates of underage drinking and celebrate the efforts of communities across the country who are working together to prevent underage alcohol use.
According to SAMHSA’s National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), we have seen a dramatic decrease over the past 15 years in the percentage of 12- to 20-year-olds who report any lifetime alcohol use: 56.2 percent in 2002 down to 41.0 percent in 2017.

By: Jon Berg, M.Ed., Senior Public Health Advisor, SAMHSA Center for Substance Abuse Treatment

By: Jon Berg, M.Ed., Senior Public Health Advisor, SAMHSA Center for Substance Abuse Treatment

By: HIV.gov 
Cross-posted from HIV.gov Blog

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) has issued a funding opportunity announcement (FOA) through its Center for Substance Abuse Treatment (CSAT) to support substance use treatment service delivery to racial/ethnic minority individuals at risk for or living with HIV. The grant opportunity is supported by Minority AIDS Initiative resources that are appropriated to SAMHSA.

By: HIV.gov 
Cross-posted from HIV.gov Blog

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) has issued a funding opportunity announcement (FOA) through its Center for Substance Abuse Treatment (CSAT) to support substance use treatment service delivery to racial/ethnic minority individuals at risk for or living with HIV. The grant opportunity is supported by Minority AIDS Initiative resources that are appropriated to SAMHSA.

 

 

By: Tammy R. Beckham, DVM, PhD, Director, Office of HIV/AIDS and Infectious Disease Policy, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health
Cross-posted from HHS Viral Hepatitis Blog

Summary: 
SAMHSA chief urges grantees and partners to address infectious diseases as integral part of the response to the substance use disorders epidemic.

In a “Dear Colleague” letter sent to grantees of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) late last year, Elinore McCance-Katz, M.D., Ph.D., the Assistant Secretary for Mental Health and Substance Use, put a spotlight on HIV and viral hepatitis – the often hidden consequences of the substance use disorder epidemic – and called on the public health and substance abuse disorders communities to strengthen coordinated efforts to address them. She stated,

By: Tammy R. Beckham, DVM, PhD, Director, Office of HIV/AIDS and Infectious Disease Policy, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health
Cross-posted from HHS Viral Hepatitis Blog

Summary: 
SAMHSA chief urges grantees and partners to address infectious diseases as integral part of the response to the substance use disorders epidemic.
In a “Dear Colleague” letter sent to grantees of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) late last year, Elinore McCance-Katz, M.D., Ph.D., the Assistant Secretary for Mental Health and Substance Use, put a spotlight on HIV and viral hepatitis – the often hidden consequences of the substance use disorder epidemic – and called on the public health and substance abuse disorders communities to strengthen coordinated efforts to address them. She stated,

By: Elinore F. McCance-Katz, MD, PhD, Assistant Secretary for Mental Health and Substance Use

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released data on the ten leading causes of death in the United States recently. Tragically, suicide—too often a consequence of untreated mental illness and substance use disorders, and as such a preventable condition—remains on that list as the 10th leading cause of death for adults and the second-leading cause of death in our youth.1 Suicide rates increased from 29,199 deaths in 1996 to 47,173 deaths in 2017.2

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