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Each September 10, the International Association for Suicide Prevention sponsors World Suicide Prevention Day. Here in the United States, overall suicide rates have increased significantly since 1999 in almost every state, but suicide affects some groups far more than others. As we observe World Suicide Prevention Day, I’d like to call attention to the effect suicide has on tribal communities.
American Indian and Alaska Native youth ages 15-24 die by suicide at a rate four times the overall rate for this age group. Alarmingly, these suicides often occur in clusters—multiple suicides within a social group or small community in a short time.
September is National Recovery Month. We celebrate the millions of Americans who are living their lives in recovery from mental and substance use disorders and honor those who work to make recovery possible. We also take time to remember the people who have lost their lives and those who still need help.
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.
HHS released the Mental Health and Substance Use Disorder Parity Action Plan, required by Section 13002 of the 21st Century Cures Act.
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.