The week of March 26-30 is National Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Health Awareness Week. At SAMHSA, this week provides the opportunity to highlight the needs of LGBT Americans with serious mental illness (SMI).Data from SAMHSA’s 2015-2016 National Survey of Drug Use and Health provides insight on the prevalence of substance use and mental disorders among lesbian, gay and bisexual adults. The data indicate that LGB adults have higher rates of mental illness when compared to all adults.
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Prevention & Treatment
I often found that my psychiatric practice’s patients diagnosed with depression, bipolar disorder or another mental illness also were living with untreated drug or alcohol problems.
The presence of both substance abuse and mental illness is known as a co-occurring disorder. Left untreated, this condition poses a serious threat to an individual’s quality of life, including increased risk of family problems, frequent drug relapse, numerous hospitalizations, unemployment, homelessness, serious physical illness and death.
As we observe World AIDS Day on December 1, we remember those we’ve lost to the disease, reflect on the progress we’ve made in treating patients, and resolve to end the HIV and AIDS epidemic. SAMHSA’s role in ending HIV is vitally important because the people we are charged with caring for – those with a mental or substance use disorder – are disproportionately affected by HIV.The good news is we have seen great success in treating HIV infection over the past 20 years. In fact, a 20-year old who is diagnosed today with HIV can have a near normal life expectancy if they take antiretroviral medication every day and maintain an undetectable level of virus in their blood.
Each day, millions of Americans with chronic conditions—mental illness, addictions, diabetes, asthma, and many more—go to work. In fact, 15% of adults who are employed full-time and 20% who are employed part-time experienced mental illness in the past year. Sometimes people with mental health conditions—like those with physical health conditions—need time off from work to cope with heightened symptoms or seek treatment.
One in five adults will experience a mental illness this year, but fewer than half will seek treatment. A new series of SAMHSA resources is designed to help bridge this gap. Our newly Yesed fact sheets on Treatments for Mental Disorders educate people diagnosed with mental illness, their families and their friends about currently available evidence-based treatments.Expert panels of researchers, clinicians, consumers, families and administrators met to provide input on the content of each fact sheet. Each fact sheet focuses on a specific diagnosis, such as bipolar disorders, schizophrenia, depression, anxiety disorders or post-traumatic stress disorder.