Summary: Jean Bennett says one of her main jobs as a SAMHSA official is making sure that when there is a conversation about health, behavioral health is at the table.
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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.
It is my pleasure to announce that Christopher M. Jones, PharmD, M.P.H., has joined SAMHSA as the first Director of the National Mental Health and Substance Use Policy Laboratory. The Policy Lab was created as part of the 21st Century Cures Act and promotes innovation and the dissemination and adoption of evidence-based practices and service delivery models related to mental health and substance use, including through the evaluation of models that would benefit from further development and through expanding, replicating, or scaling evidence-based programs, policies, and practices.
Cindy Kemp helps people with serious mental illnesses get the help, treatment services and recovery supports they need, so they can lead healthy lives.
Substance misuse is a major issue on college campuses. Young adults, including college students, have the highest rates of behavioral health needs and the lowest rates of help-seeking behavior.We’re confronting these problems head on. I’m pleased to share that SAMHSA has a new information kit aimed at college and university prevention practitioners, health center staff and administrators. The Behavioral Health Among College Students Information & Resource Kit—which includes fact sheets, extensive resources, PowerPoint slides, and more—supports substance misuse prevention and mental health promotion initiatives on college and university campuses.
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.