Let’s Talk Mental Health: SAMHSA Offers Tools to Take Action

mental health and substance dependencyMental health issues can significantly decrease a person’s quality of life and well-being. And more people than you realize suffer with mental health problems. During the past year, one in five American adults aged 18 or older, or 45.6 million people, had mental health disorders, according to a report from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).

To make matters worse, mental health issues are often exacerbated by substance abuse. In fact, a recent SAMHSA report found that adults who had   in the past year were more than three times as likely to have met the criteria for substance dependency or abuse in that period than those who had not experienced mental health problems in the past year (17.5% versus 5.8%).

To help communities start talking about mental health and address misperceptions about people with mental health disorders, SAMHSA has developed a free toolkit.

The SAMHSA toolkit includes:

  • An Information Brief-Provides data and other facts regarding mental health and mental illness and how communities can: improve prevention of mental illnesses, promotion of mental health and recovery supports available in their communities.
  • A Discussion Guide-Intended for use in holding community conversation meetings, the guide provides discussion questions and an overall structure for dialogue and engagement on mental health issues.
  • A Planning Guide-Describes a variety of ways in which anyone can facilitate their community conversations and take the next steps at the local level to raise awareness about mental health and promote access to mental health services.

Mental health issues in our communities are complex and challenging. But, by coming together, increasing our understanding and raising awareness, we can make a difference.

If you know someone who is suffering with mental illness and using alcohol or drugs to self-medicate, Gateway Foundation can help. A free and confidential consultation may be scheduled by calling Gateway Foundation’s 24-Hour Helpline at (877) 505-HOPE (4673).

To review the SAMSHA report findings, visit: samhsa.gov/data/NSDUH/2k11MH_FindingsandDetTables/index.aspx.
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