Most people know that physical activity can reduce risk for heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and other chronic diseases, but fewer know that it is also important for mental health. Research suggests that exercise and physical activity can help to improve symptoms of anxiety and depression. People of color, particularly youth, are less likely to be physically active compared to Whites and, in general, as people get older they exercise less. Since the U.S. population is becoming more racially diverse, more people are at risk for inactivity.
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In 1976 President Gerald Ford honored the contributions of black Americans by issuing a proclamation that officially marked February as African American History Month. This proclamation continued to be issued by every president that followed. For the 2019 celebration, SAMHSA recognizes three leaders who have had significant impact on the mental health of their communities and beyond and have been important contributors to SAMHSA’s efforts to advance behavioral health equity for African Americans.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released data on the ten leading causes of death in the United States recently. Tragically, suicide—too often a consequence of untreated mental illness and substance use disorders, and as such a preventable condition—remains on that list as the 10th leading cause of death for adults and the second-leading cause of death in our youth. Suicide rates increased from 29,199 deaths in 1996 to 47,173 deaths in 2017.
What are the contributors to the state of mind that ends in a person taking their own life? What can government do about this? What responsibility do we have to each other to take actions that will alter this course? These are questions of great importance, because rising deaths by suicide say something about the conditions under which our people live and die and about our society at large.
It can be overwhelming and confusing to know where to start if you need to find treatment for an alcohol or drug addiction. Addiction touches nearly everyone in some way, yet, like all health care, effective treatment must be tailored to the needs of the individual. With many addiction treatment options, finding a program that will provide the quality care you or your loved one needs to address the specific addiction issues can be challenging. These steps will help you know what to look for to find a treatment program that is high quality and tailored to your needs.
Quitting smoking is a resolution many smokers set for themselves. It’s widely known that quitting has significant health benefits, but did you know it also can improve a person’s mental health? And for those with substance use disorders, smoking cessation is associated with increased odds of long-term recovery.
Smoking cessation is linked to decreased depression, anxiety, and stress. It’s a factor in experiencing improved positive mood and quality of life, and is also related to improved substance use disorder recovery outcomes. Research shows that quitting increases the odds of long-term recovery, whereas continued smoking increases the likelihood of relapse.
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.