There has never been a better time to focus on suicide prevention in youth. SAMHSA’s 2017 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) showed that young adults ages 18 to 25 have the highest rates of suicidal thoughts and attempts of any age group. Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, meanwhile, showed that in 2017, suicide was the second leading cause of death among children, youth, and adolescents ages 10 to 24, behind automobile accidents.
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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.
Many of you are very familiar with the efforts that we, in the government, have put forward to stem the tide of the opioid crisis. States and communities have done the same across the country. Our commitment is real, but it is also potentially futile if we do not have providers out there, on the front lines, willing to take on treating the population of Americans living with opioid use disorder.
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.
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.
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.
For persons with an opioid use disorder who are in the criminal justice system, the process of transitioning from jail or prison back to the community can be overwhelming. Within three months of release from custody, 75 percent of people who were in prison or jail with an opioid use disorder experience a relapse to opioid use. It is also alarming that incarcerated persons who are released to the community are between 10 and 40 times more likely to die of an opioid overdose than the general American population—especially within a few weeks after reentering society.