July is Minority Mental Health Awareness Month. Each year, SAMHSA joins the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Minority Health to promote the message that prevention works, treatment is effective, and people recover. This month also presents an opportunity to reflect on how the behavioral health system can connect more effectively with people across different cultural backgrounds and experiences.
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Each June, SAMHSA works with National Center for PTSD in the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to raise awareness of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). PTSD refers to a mental health condition that some people develop after witnessing or experiencing a life-threatening or unusually violent event. Although PTSD is often associated with military combat, it can have many causes, including domestic violence, abuse or neglect, sexual assault, accidental injury or natural disasters.
Our population is aging. Approximately 75 million Americans will be over age 65 by 2030. Additionally, in 2012, one in five older adults in the U.S. experienced a mental illness, substance use disorder, or both. That ratio, should it still exist in 2030, would equal approximately 15 million people. The growing number of older adults with mental or substance use disorders could have a tremendous impact on the healthcare needs of our nation.
You may have brought the dark, but together we will shine a light.Students of Parkland High School wrote these lyrics to their song, “Shine,” in response to the violence that took the lives of their classmates and teachers in February. These lyrics remind us that mass violence affects not only those who are killed or physically injured, but those who are traumatized by losing loved ones or by witnessing violence. However, the lyrics also remind us that we can heal from trauma.
SAMHSA joins national organizations and hundreds of communities in observing Mental Health Awareness Month, we have more possibilities than ever before to prevent, treat, and promote recovery from mental illness. The President and this Administration have made behavioral health a primary focus of its public health efforts, particularly opioid addiction and serious mental illness (SMI). I hope that you will join us in our efforts.A critical part of SAMHSA’s activities moving forward in the area of SMI is the work of the Interdepartmental Serious Mental Illness Coordinating Committee (ISMICC). Formed in 2017, the ISMICC is a new Committee, included in a law called the 21st Century Cures Act, composed of federal and non-federal members.
HHS released the Mental Health and Substance Use Disorder Parity Action Plan, required by Section 13002 of the 21st Century Cures Act.