November is National Native American Heritage Month. During this time, we celebrate and pay tribute to the rich ancestry and traditions of Native Americans and Alaskan Natives. We also shine a spotlight on some of the unique needs of their communities and some of the health disparities they face. Health outcomes for these communities are worse than the larger U.S. population in many ways. Whether it is from a higher rate of unintentional injuries, suicide or chronic liver disease, the life expectancy of American Indian and Alaskan Natives is five and a half years less than the larger U.S. population. SAMHSA is partnering with tribes and tribal organizations to reduce health disparities and promote better overall health.
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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.
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.
Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders (AANHPI) often are the least likely of the racial and ethnic groups to seek mental health care. Research indicates that they do not seek mental health services due to risk factors like lack of insurance, not knowing where to find appropriate services, cultural norms, language barriers, and negative attitudes towards seeking help. Even as one of the fastest growing minority populations, AANHPIs are a population often overlooked in national discussions of mental health, especially the mental health of AANHPI boys and men.In recognition of National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month, SAMHSA has developed two briefs on the behavioral health of AANHPI boys and young men:
For the past four years, SAMHSA has issued the Behavioral Health Barometer as a snapshot of the nation’s behavioral health. The Barometer is a unique compilation of facts and figures on issues such as substance use, serious mental illness, serious thoughts of suicide, and related treatment. The findings are broken down into major groups according to age, gender, racial and ethnic categories, income, and access to health insurance.What does the Barometer tell us? For starters, it shows the national annual prevalence of prescription opioid misuse and heroin use. In 2015, about 12.5 million persons aged 12 and over reported misusing prescription pain relievers, and about 828,000 reported using heroin.
Federal agencies have released a third call for bold proposals to improve education, employment, and other key outcomes for disconnected youth.