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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In or out of uniform, many service members return home to communities where they continue to lead and contribute. For some military personnel, returning home can be challenging. And the impact of deployment and trauma-related stress not only affects military members and veterans but also their families and others who may provide support.
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.
Every day, across our country, individuals are dying from mental and substance use disorders. I returned to SAMHSA to do everything I could to ensure that American families and communities do not continue to lose their loved ones to these preventable and treatable conditions. As the Assistant Secretary for Mental Health and Substance Use, I take very seriously my responsibility to ensure that every dollar entrusted to SAMHSA by the American public is used in the most effective manner possible.As a physician, I have seen firsthand the urgent need for funding and the programs that SAMHSA provides. I have treated many patients whose lives are dependent on the types of services SAMHSA funding generates.
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.
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.