SAMHSA’s Award-Winning National Newsletter
September/October 2010, Volume 18, Number 5
Behavioral Health is Essential to Health • Prevention Works • Treatment is Effective • People Recover
What You Need
To Know About
What the Affordable
Care Act Offers
IN THIS ISSUE Imagine a shift from “sick care” to true health care. That’s how U.S. Department
of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, M.P.A., describes the
From the Administrator:
Leading Change 2 transformation that health care reform is bringing to our health care system.
An emphasis on prevention pervades the Affordable Care Act (ACA). “Focusing
Voice Awards Honor Rosalynn Carter 3
on prevention rather than waiting until people get to the point where they have to be
Suicide Prevention: Action treated for some sort of acute illness just makes good sense,” said Secretary Sebelius.
Alliance Convenes 9 “We want to take down the barriers that are keeping folks from being as healthy as
Backpacks Help Break the Silence
of Suicide 10 Signed into law in March 2010, the Affordable Care Act will bring health insurance
coverage to 32 million Americans who are currently uninsured. For those who
Hip-Hop Culture and HIV Awareness 12
already have insurance, the law offers new benefits, plus an end to practices that have
NSDUH Data Show Drug Use Rising 14 kept people from being able to access health care just when they need it the most.
About the New SAMHSA.gov 19
continued on page 4
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES Read SAMHSA News online. Get SAMHSA
• Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration
• Center for Mental Health Services
• Center for Substance Abuse Prevention
• Center for Substance Abuse Treatment
From the Administrator
Leading Change the context in which we are moving everyone deserves a healthy life, a home,
By Pamela S. Hyde, J.D. SAMHSA’s agenda forward. a purpose, and a community.
We also talk about how prevention
THE PLAN works, treatment is effective, and that
As a national leader in behavioral health, Details of SAMHSA’s agenda are people recover. Those messages guide our
SAMHSA has a key role to play in Health included in the draft paper, Leading work. You’ll see each of those messages
Care Reform—one of the Agency’s eight Change: A Plan for SAMHSA’s Roles and reflected in the Strategic Initiatives.
Strategic Initiatives. Our job is to ensure Actions: 2011-2014. The paper, posted This issue of SAMHSA News
that mental health and addiction services on SAMHSA’s redesigned website at highlights the Strategic Initiative on
are an integral part of health care reform samhsa.gov, describes the plan to use Health Care Reform. In the coming
efforts. (See cover story.) eight Strategic Initiatives to maximize months, SAMHSA News will feature
The Agency is taking a lead role in the impact of available resources in these the other initiatives, including:
shaping policies regarding home- and critical areas. I’m happy to report that by • Prevention of Substance Abuse and
community-based services for individuals the close of the public comment period Mental Illness
with mental and substance use disorders. on Leading Change, more than 2,900 • Trauma and Justice
Those policies include integrating primary individuals had cast more than 26,000 • Military Families
care and behavioral health, and creating “votes,” offered 687 ideas, and posted • Housing and Homelessness
“health homes” to improve health services 1,752 comments. On the final day for • Health Information Technology
to individuals with chronic conditions comments (October 22), we received a • Data, Outcomes, and Quality
(see pages 6 and 7). total of 8,500 votes. Thank you all for • Public Awareness and Support.
Changing the Nation’s health care your participation!
system will be complex and challenging. In developing Leading Change, we REALITY CHECK
But it’s worth the effort. tried to think about the context we’re Recognizing that SAMHSA is not the
Here at SAMHSA, we are very clear living in right now. SAMHSA for a long only player in these eight strategic areas, it
that behavioral health is essential time has used the phrase “A Life in the is critical that we partner and collaborate
to health. That key message creates Community for Everyone,” meaning that with others and stay focused on the
people we serve, not just the systems
we’re trying to change. We are trying to
ensure what we’re doing makes a positive
Strategic Initiatives and measurable difference. It’s really
important that we get this right. I’m
interested in hearing your feedback,
which will help guide SAMHSA’s present
and future work.
At SAMHSA, we frame our mission
as “Reducing the impact of substance
abuse and mental illness on America’s
communities.” There’s a lot in that phrase.
It is about community, yes. But it’s
also about how all of us from the Federal
Government to states to communities are
making sure our priorities are working
For more information on the eight
Strategic Initiatives, visit SAMHSA’s
website at http://www.samhsa.gov.
2 SAMHSA News . SEP/OCT 10 . http://www.samhsa.gov/samhsaNewsletter
At this year’s star-studded Voice Awards
celebration, SAMHSA Administrator
Pamela S. Hyde, J.D., presented a special
achievement award to former First Lady At this year’s Voice Awards, former First Lady Rosalynn Carter (right) graciously accepted SAMHSA’s Lifetime Leadership in
Behavioral Health Award from SAMHSA Administrator Pamela S. Hyde (left).
Rosalynn Carter. For her work over
many years as an advocate for mental This year, the celebration recognized LaVerne Miller, Delmar, NY; and Janet
health, Mrs. Carter received the Agency’s the countless contributions of America’s Paleo, San Antonio, TX. The honor
Lifetime Leadership in Behavioral Health military men and women. Many face acknowledged their work to promote
Award (see photo at right). behavioral health issues as they return community acceptance and to support the
The Voice Awards honor writers home from the battlefield to their recovery of people with mental illness.
and producers of hit film and television communities and their families. Lorrin Gehring, Provo, UT, received the
productions for increasing awareness Young Adult Leadership Award.
of mental health and substance use CONSUMER LEADERSHIP “Thanks to these leaders, more
issues. In addition, consumer leaders Consumer Leadership Award people know the power of recovery,” said
are honored for their outstanding work recipients included Gayle Bluebird, Administrator Hyde.
in promoting community acceptance for Gainesville, FL; Fredrick Frese, Akron, For a complete list of winners, visit
people with mental illnesses. OH; Clarence Jordan, Nashville, TN; SAMHSA News online.
Oil Spill Distress Individuals Affected by the BP Deepwater Horizon
Helpline Available Oil Spill Can Call 1-800-985-5990 for Help
A new toll-free helpline provides information, support, and counseling for
families and children affected by the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill.
Part of the Obama Administration’s long-term oil spill recovery plan, the Oil
Spill Distress Helpline—1-800-985-5990—links callers to behavioral health
services. The helpline serves as an important resource for the localized oil
spill outreach efforts in the Gulf Coast states.
Administered by SAMHSA, the helpline will route callers to the nearest Gulf
Coast area crisis center, where trained staff from the region will answer calls
and provide assistance. In addition, these crisis centers are working to
provide support via text messages.
“History tells us that the emotional impact of the devastating losses
experienced by individuals and families as a result of the oil spill will continue
to play out over the years to come,” said SAMHSA Administrator Pamela S.
Hyde, J.D. “Now that the immediate response phase has come to a close,
we are shifting our focus to long-term recovery and being there for Gulf
Coast residents in need of emotional strength as they rebuild their lives.”
The helpline is funded by BP’s contribution to SAMHSA. For more
information, visit the HHS BP Gulf Oil Spill web page at http://www.hhs.
gov/gulfoilspill/index.html. And watch for the text-messaging launch!
http://www.samhsa.gov/samhsaNewsletter . SEP/OCT 10 . SAMHSA News 3
The Affordable 2010
Care Act Timeline March 23: President Obama signs September 23: The following are in effect
The Affordable Care Act doesn’t go into effect the Affordable Care Act, a set of (for health plan years beginning on or after
overnight. While some key provisions have comprehensive health insurance reforms. this date):
already taken effect, other changes will be April 1: States can receive Federal Young adults can stay on their parents’
phased in gradually through 2014 and beyond. matching funds to cover additional low- plans until they turn 26.
Year by year, this timeline shows you what’s income individuals and families.
Insurers can no longer deny coverage to
July 1: A temporary Pre-Existing Condition children under 19 because of pre-existing
Insurance Plan provides coverage options conditions.
for people who have been uninsured for
Plans must cover certain preventive
at least 6 months because of pre-existing
services without requiring copayments or
Health Reform <<p.1 IN 2014 It’s not just the uninsured who
Beginning in 2014 (see timeline), will benefit from the Affordable Care
The law is especially good news insurers will no longer be allowed to Act, however.
for individuals with behavioral health deny consumers coverage because of The law’s emphasis on prevention,
disorders, said SAMHSA Administrator pre-existing conditions or raise their for example, means that consumers
Pamela S. Hyde, J.D. premiums if they develop problems. purchasing new plans will no longer
“Right now, estimates show that Until then, consumers can turn to ACA’s have to face copayments or other forms
one-fifth to one-third of the uninsured new Pre-Existing Condition Insurance of cost-sharing for preventive services,
are people with mental and substance Plan for help. such as depression screening, drug and
use disorders,” said Administrator Hyde. In addition, coverage options will alcohol misuse screening, and smoking
“Of the estimated 32 million people we expand. An expansion of Medicaid cessation efforts.
anticipate gaining coverage, about 6 to 10 will bring coverage to an estimated 16
million will have untreated mental illnesses million new enrollees, said Mr. O’Brien. NO LIFETIME CAPS
or addictions we can actually help.” “Forty percent of them will be under In addition, the law eliminates
30 years old,” he said. “That means we lifetime caps on benefits and restricts
NEW BENEFITS need to think about ways to engage that insurers’ use of annual caps for all new
Finding health insurance can be generation in treatment.” plans issued after December 2010.
difficult for people with mental health Starting in 2014, individuals can That’s huge, said Steven Randazzo, a
and substance use disorders, explained also seek coverage from state-run special assistant in SAMHSA’s Office
Administrator Hyde. For one thing, exchanges—a new competitive of the Administrator.
insurers typically exclude individuals marketplace for private health insurance “Having a chronic condition or caring
with pre-existing conditions. In addition, that’s designed to give individuals and for someone with a chronic condition is
people with serious behavioral health small businesses access to affordable expensive,” he explained. “This change
problems may not be employed and thus coverage. means that you can keep going back to the
lack the insurance coverage that often Essential mental health and substance doctor and keep your coverage.”
goes along with employment. use disorder services must be covered ACA also puts a stop to rescission—
The result has been a widespread lack as part of the benefits package by all the practice of dropping patients from
of health insurance among many of the insurance policies offered through the coverage, usually when their medical
people who need it the most, said John exchanges and Medicaid. expenses are high—except in cases of
O’Brien, M.A., Senior Advisor for Health misrepresentation or fraud.
Financing at SAMHSA. “Thirty-nine RIGHT NOW
percent of the individuals who are now One group is already enjoying ROLE OF STATES & PROVIDERS
served by state mental health authorities expanded coverage: adult children of the Reform means big changes to those
have no insurance now,” he pointed out. already-insured. Since September 2010, providing services, too. “States are going
“And 61 percent of individuals served by parents who purchase or renew insurance to be involved more than ever,” said Mr.
state substance abuse authorities have plans can obtain coverage for their Randazzo. For one thing, states must
no insurance.” ACA changes that. children up to age 26. establish their insurance exchanges and
4 SAMHSA News . SEP/OCT 10 . http://www.samhsa.gov/samhsaNewsletter
Insurance companies can no longer impose flexibility in offering home- and community- January: States can opt to receive
lifetime limits on essential benefits and face based services under Medicaid. enhanced Federal funding to support health
new restrictions on annual limits. homes to coordinate care of persons with
A new $15 billion Prevention and Public
chronic illnesses, including those with
Insurance companies’ use of annual dollar limits Health Fund begins investing in proven
mental and substance use disorders.
on coverage is restricted for new plans in prevention and public health programs,
the individual market and in all group plans. such as smoking cessation and combating October 11: A new Community First
obesity. Choice Option allows states to offer home-
Insurance companies can no longer use
and community-based services to people
innocent errors on customers’ applications New funding will support the construction
with disabilities via Medicaid rather than
to deny payment for services when and expansion of services at community
institutional care in nursing homes.
customers get sick. health centers, allowing them to serve 20
million new patients.
October: All state Medicaid programs
must cover smoking cessation programs
for pregnant women. States gain more
have them ready for operation in 2014. have to figure out how to direct the dollars Council for Community Behavioral
They must also prepare for the expansion differently,” said Mr. O’Brien. Healthcare. In these long-term
of Medicaid. Integration of behavioral health relationships, consumers select providers
That expansion will also trigger and primary care is another major who will be responsible for coordinating
changes in SAMHSA’s Mental Health theme within the Affordable Care Act. all of their care, sharing information
Services Block Grants and Substance For example, the law allows states to electronically with other providers, and
Abuse Prevention and Treatment Block add a “health home” option to their handling tasks like followup that often fall
Grants. With more people receiving Medicaid coverage (see page 6). Health through the cracks.
coverage for behavioral health services homes “fit all the pieces together” for That concept is especially helpful for
via Medicaid and the new exchanges, individuals with chronic conditions, people with behavioral health issues, said
SAMHSA will redirect that funding to explained Charles Ingoglia, M.S.W., Vice Mr. O’Brien. “Studies have shown that
whatever gaps in service remain. “We President for Public Policy at the National continued on page 6
HealthCare.gov’s “Search and Compare” Feature
Looking for a health insurance plan? New The idea is to put consumers, not their what health coverage options are available
information about private insurance benefits insurance companies, in charge and take to them,” said HHS Secretary Kathleen
and pricing is available on HealthCare.gov, the guesswork and confusion out of buying Sebelius. “The search and compare feature
the website established in July by the health insurance. will help Americans find coverage that meets
U.S. Department of Health and Human their needs and that gives them value for their
To help individuals make more informed
Services (HHS) for information about the dollars now.”
choices, HealthCare.gov includes two
Affordable Care Act.
notable metrics for the public. Insurance Created under the Affordable Care Act,
“To improve competition and lower costs,” providers are required to post: HealthCare.gov is the first website of its
the new tools will make the health insurance kind to bring information and links to health
• The percentage of people who applied
market more transparent. For example, insurance plans in one place to make it easy
for insurance and were denied coverage.
for the first time ever, price estimates for for those searching for a plan to learn about
• The percentage of applicants who were
private insurance policies are available. and compare their insurance choices.
charged higher premiums because of
These estimates allow individuals to
their health status. For more information and resources,
compare prices as they take advantage
of “one-stop shopping” for an affordable “Millions of Americans have logged on to
health insurance plan. HealthCare.gov’s Insurance Finder to see
http://www.samhsa.gov/samhsaNewsletter . SEP/OCT 10 . SAMHSA News 5
The Affordable 2012 2013
Care Act Timeline January 1: Physicians receive January 1: States receive new funding
Continued . . . incentives for coming together in to cover preventive services for
“Accountable Care Organizations” Medicaid patients at little or no cost.
to better coordinate care, improve
quality, prevent disease, and reduce
Health Reform <<p.5 “We wanted to get ahead of the curve,”
said Mr. O’Brien.
70 percent of individuals with significant
mental health or substance use disorders
SAMHSA is already involved in
helping to shape specific ACA provisions.
have one or more chronic conditions,” he
States must consult with SAMHSA as
they craft their plans for health homes,
Behavioral health providers should for example.
already be preparing for the integration Consumers, providers, and other
of behavioral health and primary care, stakeholders should get involved, too, For people with serious or multiple
emphasized Rita Vandivort-Warren, emphasized Mr. Randazzo. They should chronic health conditions, a primary care
M.S.W., a public health analyst in the stay informed about what’s happening, physician often isn’t enough. To meet
Division of Services Improvement get engaged, and share their input on such all their needs, they may also see several
at SAMHSA’s Center for Substance matters as what specific behavioral health specialists. And that can get complicated.
Abuse Treatment. services will be included in the essential “Trying to navigate the health care
“It’s important for mental health and benefits package, how the new insurance system is like trying to find your way
substance abuse providers to develop good exchanges are constructed, and so on. through a tangled maze,” said Charles
linkages with primary care practitioners,” “We want to make sure behavioral Ingoglia, M.S.W., Vice President for
she said, adding that there are various health is at the table,” said Mr. Randazzo. Public Policy at the National Council
models of integration. “Sometimes it’s “With other people’s involvement, we can for Community Behavioral Healthcare.
the behavioral health provider doing keep behavioral health concerns at the “Sometimes, doctors don’t have time to
screening and brief interventions in the forefront.” talk to each other or share information.”
primary care site; sometimes it’s the “Health homes” are an attempt to
primary care provider giving services in MORE INFORMATION change that. “And we need to clarify what
behavioral health organizations.” For more information about the a health home is, too,” said John O’Brien,
Providers should also ensure that Affordable Care Act, visit http:// M.A., Senior Advisor for Health Financing
they’re ready to embrace electronic medical www.healthcare.gov. This site at SAMHSA. “Some folks are concerned
records and understand Medicaid billing features a timeline, video chats, that when you’re talking about homes,
procedures, added Mr. Randazzo. and even an interactive database of you’re talking about residential programs.”
insurance options in addition to basic Not so, Mr. O’Brien explained.
HELP FROM SAMHSA information about the law. Rather than being a physical place,
Many details of ACA’s implementation For more information about ACA’s health homes are a strategy for helping
are still to be worked out. SAMHSA will impact on behavioral health, visit individuals with chronic conditions
play a key role in that process. SAMHSA’s newly redesigned website at manage those conditions better.
To help influence what happens with http://samhsa.gov and click on the Agency’s An eligible individual—for example
provisions related to behavioral health, Strategic Initiative on Health Care a person with diabetes and a mental
SAMHSA crafted a white paper laying out Reform. For related resources, illness—selects a provider or team of
its vision for a good, modern addictions visit SAMHSA News online. health care professionals to be his or her
and mental health service system. —By Rebecca A. Clay health home. That home then becomes
6 SAMHSA News . SEP/OCT 10 . http://www.samhsa.gov/samhsaNewsletter
January 1: Individuals whose employers Tax credits to make it easier for the Insurance companies can no longer refuse
don’t offer insurance can buy insurance middle class to afford insurance become to sell coverage or renew policies because
directly in an exchange—a new competitive available for people with incomes above of pre-existing conditions; they can also
marketplace for individuals and small 100 percent and below 400 percent of no longer charge higher rates because of
businesses to buy affordable health plans. the poverty level who aren’t eligible for health status or gender.
or offered other affordable coverage.
Americans who earn less than 133 percent For more information, visit http://www.
of the poverty level can enroll in Medicaid; New plans and existing group plans healthcare.gov/law/timeline/index.html.
states will receive 100 percent Federal may no longer impose annual limits on
funding for the first 3 years and 90 percent coverage (including hospital stays and
in subsequent years to support this other essential benefits).
A health home is a strategy for helping individuals with
chronic conditions manage those conditions better.
accountable for all the individual’s care, communicate with each other and health homes to their list of benefits,
including the following: who never see the whole person, only she said. States interested in including
• Manage and coordinate all of the the illnesses they treat.” health homes in their Medicaid programs
services the person receives from must submit a state plan amendment to
multiple providers. COORDINATING CARE the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid
• Promote good health. The new provisions will allow Services (CMS).
• Help with transitions from one kind of Medicaid to reimburse providers for SAMHSA will be providing assistance
setting to another. the time they spend on such vital tasks to states on prevention and treatment
• Provide support to both the individual as coordinating interdisciplinary care, services for those with mental and
and her family members. whether in person or virtually, or meeting substance use disorders. In fact, the
• Offer referrals to community and social with family members to help support an legislation requires states to consult with
support services. individual’s recovery. SAMHSA on their proposals’ behavioral
States can begin offering the health health aspects.
BEHAVIORAL HEALTH homes option in January 2011. “We’ve For more information on health homes,
Health information technology helps heard informally that a lot of states are visit http://www.healthcare.gov.
link all of these services together. interested,” said Ms. Vandivort-Warren. —By Rebecca A. Clay
The health homes provision is The legislation features a “sweetener”
especially good news for people with —a 90 percent Federal match for the
mental health and substance use first 2 years—to encourage states to add
disorders, said Rita Vandivort-Warren,
M.S.W., a public health analyst in the
Department of Services Improvement
at SAMHSA’s Center for Substance
“Those with these chronic illnesses
tend to have more complex, long-standing
needs and more variety of different
providers involved,” she explained.
“In other words, they have to go to
many different providers who may not
http://www.samhsa.gov/samhsaNewsletter . SEP/OCT 10 . SAMHSA News 7
During Operation Immersion,
attendees stayed in barracks, went
through a modified early morning
Physical Training (PT), completed chores
and inspection, toured a C-130 cargo
plane and Black Hawk helicopter, and
ate a Meal Ready to Eat (MRE).
Opening remarks for the event
included Major General Terry M. Haston,
For Behavioral Health Providers: TDMHDD Commissioner Virginia Trotter
Betts, and Dr. Clark.
A Military Immersion Training Other featured presentations
included experts from SAMHSA and
Substance abuse professionals from 19 stigma of mental illness and substance Tennessee on post-traumatic stress
states and 5 tribal organizations arrived use disorders in military populations. disorder (PTSD), homelessness, and
at the National Guard Training Center The training is designed to immerse suicide prevention. Attendees also
in Smyrna, TN, to participate in and attendees in military culture and the heard personal stories of deployment
learn about a first-of-its-kind military deployment experience. “The ultimate from combat veterans of Operation
immersion training with the goal of goal of this experience is to help remove Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring
replicating similar programs nationwide. stigma and other barriers,” said SAMHSA’s Freedom, and from military spouses
SAMHSA, along with the Tennessee H. Westley Clark, M.D., J.D., M.P.H., and family members.
Department of Mental Health and Director of the Agency’s Center for
Developmental Disabilities (TDMHDD), Substance Abuse Treatment. “Stigma is INITIATIVE ON MILITARY FAMILIES
the Tennessee National Guard, and the a serious problem for soldiers who are SAMHSA’s role in this effort is part
Tennessee Veterans Task Force hosted this thinking about seeking help for mental of the Agency’s Strategic Initiative on
training, called Operation Immersion, in health or substance use disorders.” promoting the behavioral health interests
early September 2010. The 2-day curriculum focused on of those in the military, veterans, and
military culture and issues unique to their families.
OPERATION IMMERSION service members and veterans who have National Guard, Reserve, veterans,
Operation Immersion, which launched served in combat and experienced one or and active duty service members as
in June of 2009, is an effort to reduce the multiple deployments. well as their families, who do not seek
care from the Departments of Defense
(DoD) or Veterans Affairs (VA), do seek
care in communities across the Nation.
These groups are the focus of SAMHSA’s
Strategic Initiative on Military Families.
For more information about
SAMHSA’s Strategic Initiatives, please
visit the Agency’s recently redesigned
website at http://www.samhsa.gov
For more information, contact
SAMHSA’s Linda Fulton at linda.fulton
@samhsa.hhs.gov or 240-276-1573 or
Maggie Throckmorton at the Tennessee
Department of Mental Health and
Dr. H. Westley Clark, SAMHSA’s Director of the Center for Substance Abuse Treatment (third from left); Commissioner Developmental Disabilities at maggie.
Virginia Trotter Betts, Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities (fourth from right); and some email@example.com or 615-532-3025.
members of the Tennessee National Guard.
8 SAMHSA News . SEP/OCT 10 . http://www.samhsa.gov/samhsaNewsletter
Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention Convenes
To show unprecedented support, public One such group is active duty
and private sector leaders came together military and veterans. “The survivors
to announce the founding of the National of battlefield wounds often suffer
Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention. from traumatic brain injury, post-
Secretary of Health and Human traumatic stress, and other psychological
Services Kathleen Sebelius, M.P.A., and ailments—all factors that can increase
Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, Ph.D., the risk of suicide,” said Secretary Gates.
joined SAMHSA Administrator Pamela Native American youth also face a
S. Hyde, J.D., to announce the public and high risk of suicide, noted Coloradas
private sector co-chairs for the effort. Mangas, a 15-year-old member of the
The public sector co-chair is Secretary Chiricahua Apache tribe. He related
of the Army John McHugh. The private the experience of losing several friends
sector co-chair is former U.S. Senator to suicide.
Gordon H. Smith, who was instrumental
in ensuring the passage of the Garrett PUBLIC-PRIVATE COLLABORATION
Lee Smith Memorial Act. Out of the alliance will grow
Secretary Sebelius emphasized, advancements for practitioners,
“The National Action Alliance has real policymakers, service providers, At the National Action Alliance press conference in September,
responsibility to take the steps needed to communities, families, and agencies HHS Secretary Sebelius emphasized the need for a public-private
collaboration to prevent suicide.
accelerate our work in suicide prevention, that play a vital role in reducing the
including better research, and better burden of suicide in America. suffering is indescribable. If we could
training for counselors and primary “We’re here to bring the full force alleviate that suffering for all survivors of
care physicians.” of our Nation’s resources to bear on suicide, then our time is well spent.”
The focus of the Action Alliance confronting the challenge, breaking Dan Reidenberg, Psy.D., Managing
will include: the silence, and stopping the pain and Director of the National Council for
• Updating and advancing the National suffering,” said Administrator Hyde. Suicide Prevention, encouraged people
Strategy for Suicide Prevention “For the last 5 years we’ve seen to “take five to save lives,” by spending
• Developing effective public awareness the suicide rates in the Army, frankly, a few minutes to become familiar with
and social marketing campaigns, explode,” Secretary McHugh said. suicide warning signs and speaking out
including targeted messages for specific “Almost 7 years ago, my wife and I if they see someone in trouble. Visit
segments of the population that can received news that our son had taken http://www.ncsponline.org/takefive
change attitudes his life,” said Senator Smith. “The loss for more information.
• Advancing suicide prevention among of a child, for any reason, is the most To learn more about the Alliance,
high-risk groups. challenging thing a parent can go through. visit http://www.actionalliancefor
But when the reason is suicide, the suicideprevention.org.
SAMHSA Administrator Pamela Hyde (at podium) addresses the tragedy of suicide, saying, “A loss from suicide tears the soul and causes us to ask, ‘What could I have done?’ ” Other
speakers included (left to right): Dan Reidenberg; HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius; Defense Secretary Robert Gates; former Senator Gordon Smith; and Secretary of the Army John McHugh.
http://www.samhsa.gov/samhsaNewsletter . SEP/OCT 10 . SAMHSA News 9
Breaking the Silence of Suicide
In honor of National Suicide Prevention “Every suicide is a tragedy, and every
Week 2010, SAMHSA hosted a unique suicide can be prevented,” said Eileen
event called Send Silence Packing. Zeller, M.P.H., a public health advisor
Sponsored by the national nonprofit at CMHS.
student organization Active Minds,
the outdoor display of 1,100 backpacks TRAGEDY SPURS ACTION
represents the 1,100 college students SAMHSA invited Alison Malmon,
who die by suicide each year. The story founder and executive director of Active
of a family’s tragedy accompanied Minds, to share the story of how she
each backpack. came to start the group in 2001. “I lost
“The statistics on suicide are chilling, my brother Brian to suicide when he was
but nothing so chilling as the sight of just 22. I was a freshman in college when
those 1,100 knapsacks, as colorful as they he died,” Ms. Malmon said.
are to catch your eye,” said Frances M. She related Brian’s story—he was a
Harding, Director of SAMHSA’s Center for popular, active high school student who
Mental Health Services (CMHS). went on to become a popular, active
college student. When he was a senior,
PREVENTION WORKS though, he went to the campus counseling
In addition to the powerful outdoor services with signs of depression and
display, SAMHSA sponsored an inservice anxiety. Brian was diagnosed with
called “Prevention Works: Suicide schizoaffective disorder—the symptoms
Prevention Successes” where attendees of which he’d hidden since freshman year.
learned about the different SAMHSA After a year and a half at home and in
suicide prevention grant programs counseling, Brian took his own life. “I had
working to save lives across always been Alison of Alison and Brian,
the Nation. and now it was just me—I wondered, who
Representatives from the following am I?” Ms. Malmon said.
SAMHSA grant programs attended Knowing that her brother had felt
the event: ashamed and embarrassed to talk about
• Campus Suicide Prevention Program his mental health struggles, Ms. Malmon
• State/Tribal Youth Suicide Prevention started Active Minds in order to engage
Program students in mental health education.
• National Suicide Prevention Lifeline Today, 272 Active Minds chapters operate
• Suicide Prevention Resource Center on college campuses nationwide. “Our goal
• Native Aspirations. is suicide prevention, first and foremost,”
The Send Silence Packing display uses
backpacks that have been donated by
families and friends who have lost someone
to suicide. They can submit their loved
one’s story as well. In spring 2010, the
display traveled to 10 college campuses,
including SAMHSA grantee, the University
SAMHSA’s Lifeline has answered more
than 2 million calls since it was established
in January 2005. Lifeline provides free,
24-hour, confidential help to anyone in
suicidal crisis or emotional distress.
10 SAMHSA News . SEP/OCT 10 . http://www.samhsa.gov/samhsaNewsletter
of Nebraska at Kearney (see SAMHSA network of National Suicide Prevention Resources
News, May/June 2009 for details about Lifeline crisis centers.
To find out about SAMHSA’s suicide prevention
their program). • Expand followup procedures for suicidal
activities, visit http://www.samhsa.gov/
“The more bags we unloaded, the callers to provide better support in days prevention/suicide.aspx, part of the
more overwhelming and poignant the and weeks following the initial call. Prevention of Substance Abuse and Mental
task,” said Estelle Bowman from CMHS. To enhance followup services, Illness Strategic Initiative.
“It reminded me how important it is to CrisisLink is participating in a pilot
reduce the number of deaths by suicide program for the Lifeline involving the use SAMHSA Resources
• National Suicide Prevention Lifeline,
on college campuses.” of text messaging.
1-800-273-TALK (8255)—free, 24-hour hotline
available to anyone in suicidal crisis or emotional
INNOVATION AT THE LIFELINE SPEAKING OUT TO HELP distress http://www.suicideprevention
Another speaker at the event was “We must end our silence because lifeline.org
Marshall Ellis, M.P.A., from CrisisLink, we know that suicide is a preventable
• We Can Help Us—national campaign for
one of SAMHSA’s National Suicide tragedy,” said Ms. Harding. “We must connecting youth and encouraging them to
Prevention Lifeline call centers. He end our silence by sharing prevention lean on one another to get through tough times
described how additional funds received successes and sharing what we have http://us.reachout.com/wecanhelpus
from SAMHSA in early 2010 have allowed learned with one another.” • Statistics on Suicide—reports on suicide
their services to expand. To learn more about Active Minds, administered by SAMHSA’s Center for
CrisisLink has been able to: visit http://www.activeminds.org. Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality
• Add a second overnight crisis counselor For more on SAMHSA’s suicide prevention http://www.oas.samhsa.gov/suicide.
for 4 hours each night. activities, visit http://www.samhsa.
• Double the number of hotline work gov/prevention. • Suicide Prevention Resource Center—
stations to allow an increase in daytime For more articles on campus suicide provides prevention support, training, and
other resources http://www.sprc.org.
staffing by volunteer crisis counselors. prevention, see SAMHSA News online.
• Create an online training resource for —By Kristin Blank
SAMHSA News Online on Campus
crisis counselors and to share with the Suicide Prevention
• Cultural Competency Matters—Tufts
University, January/February 2010
• Innovation in Gatekeeper Training—Penn
State Altoona, January/February 2010
• Keeping Students Connected—University
of Nebraska at Kearney, May/June 2009
• Preventing Suicide on College Campuses—
Syracuse University & University of California,
Irvine, November/December 2007.
• National Action Alliance for Suicide
Prevention—public/private partnership that
catalyzes planning, implementation, and
accountability for updating and advancing
the National Strategy for Suicide Prevention
• Indian Health Service—provides American
Indian and Alaska Native communities with
culturally appropriate information regarding
suicide prevention and intervention http://
• Take 5 To Save Lives—provides common
warning signs of suicide as well as guidance on
how to get help for yourself or a friend http://
http://www.samhsa.gov/samhsaNewsletter . SEP/OCT 10 . SAMHSA News 11
Hip-Hop Culture & HIV Awareness
Reaching Youth Where They Are
At the recent One SAMHSA meeting in with funding from SAMHSA’s Center
Orlando, FL, SAMHSA’s high-spirited, for Substance Abuse Prevention (CSAP).
high-energy Minority Education Institution Accepted into SAMHSA’s 2010 National
(MEI) showcased substance abuse and Registry of Evidence-Based Programs
peer-led HIV prevention strategies. and Practices (NREPP), “Hip-Hop 2
The SAMHSA meeting convened a Prevent Substance Abuse and HIV” also
day after the United States Conference received an enthusiastic reception at
on AIDS (USCA), where SAMHSA offered USCA. Hip-Hop 2 is now acknowledged
several workshops. The MEI Institute as a prevention and new-media Kayo found that the use of hip-hop
highlighted specific student efforts communications tool for MEI. enhances skills, especially critical
to help prevent substance abuse, HIV, “Hip-hop culture is an important way thinking and writing. “Hip-hop helps in
and hepatitis. to reach young people where they are,” goal setting and decision-making, and it
To “reach youth where they are,” these explained P. Thandi Hicks Harper, Ph.D., gives us what we need to succeed in life
prevention programs are active on the of the Youth Popular Culture Institute, and in the real world.”
campuses of minority-serving schools developer of the curriculum. “Because it William Ridley, a university liaison for
including Historically Black Colleges is ingrained in our youth culture across Bowie State, said, “We pride ourselves on
and Universities (HBCUs) and Hispanic- blacks, whites, American Indians, and non-conventional programs.” He noted
Serving Institutions (HSIs). Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, that “Spread the Word Not the Virus” is
we can use elements of hip-hop to one of Bowie State’s leading projects, as
HIP-HOP CULTURE motivate young people and students.” well as “Dance for the Cure,” as a different
One of the strategies used, Hip-Hop The program promotes healthy lifestyles way to look at HIV/AIDS.
DevelopmentTM (a theory of change and among youth at all levels from middle
practical application), was developed school to high school and through college. REACHING YOUTH
“Understanding the dominant popular Tonia Schaffer, M.P.H., Director of
culture of youth is critical in prevention,” the MEI Program Coordinating Center,
Dr. Harper added. emphasized that the program focuses on
evidence-based and peer-led services.
A DOMINO EFFECT “We are in our fifth year of the program,
Several peer educators attended the and we are 22 universities strong,” Ms.
One SAMHSA meeting. Nicholas Johnson Schaffer said. The program has a strong
(a.k.a. Kayo), a student peer educator focus on HIV testing in the schools
at Harris-Stowe State University in St. and dissemination of information on
Louis, MO, said, “As students of color, we substance abuse, HIV, and hepatitis. This
are trying to create a domino effect from work involves many community partners
our programs. We are using hip-hop to and organizations that provide testing and
tell students to know their HIV status and other services. In 2009, 5,986 students
to play it safe.” were tested, and more than 17,000
Omari Williams, a student peer students participated in peer-led sessions.
educator at Meharry Medical College See SAMHSA News online for links to
in Nashville, TN, demonstrated his hip-hop websites and related topics. For
technique with a microphone. He and information and publications on HIV/AIDS,
the audience chanted together, “We visit SAMHSA’s newly redesigned website
pledge to be a drug free community.” at http://www.samhsa.gov.
—By Susan Cruzan
12 SAMHSA News . SEP/OCT 10 . http://www.samhsa.gov/samhsaNewsletter
Conferences Focus on HIV/AIDS
This year’s One SAMHSA Minority TARGETING YOUTH
Education Institution (MEI) Institute The need to address the impact of HIV/
recently convened in Orlando, FL, to AIDS on young people and people of color
address myriad issues facing SAMHSA has never been greater, according to the
grantees in dealing with HIV/AIDS in USCA Executive Director, Paul Kawata,
their own communities. The Agency’s National Minority AIDS Council, in a
Center for Substance Abuse Prevention
(CSAP), Center for Substance Abuse
letter to conference attendees. He offered
data that show approximately 13 percent
Treatment (CSAT), and Center for Mental of those diagnosed each year are between SAMHSA has announced a recent award
Health Services (CMHS) organized a age 13 and 24. to support AIDS prevention. Funding
series of workshops. totaling $40.4 million over 5 years goes to
27 community organizations across the
At the same time, more than 3,000 SAMHSA WORKSHOPS
Nation. These AIDS prevention grants focus
community leaders, caseworkers, At the One SAMHSA workshops, on traditionally underserved and at-risk
advocates, health educators, policy grantees learned about the latest communities. For more information, visit
makers and others recently convened in techniques and gained insight into the http://www.samhsa.gov/newsroom/
Orlando at the United States Conference latest information on HIV prevention advisories/1010145459.aspx.
on AIDS (USCA). SAMHSA’s MEI and treatment, and evidence-based
Institute offered six workshops at USCA. programs and practices.
SAMHSA Administrator Pamela The Workshops organized by • Housing Opportunities for Persons
Hyde, J.D., in a welcoming video to SAMHSA’s Center for Substance Abuse with AIDS (HOPWA) Program, a U.S.
more than 500 SAMHSA grantees, Prevention, Center for Substance Abuse Department of Housing and Urban
acknowledged that, “HIV/AIDS continues Treatment, and Center for Mental Health Development (HUD) program for
to disproportionately affect racial and Services included the following: persons living with HIV/AIDS
ethnic minorities in the United States. • MEI: Minority Education Institution • Risky behaviors and liver functions
Because people living with, or at risk for, Initiative and HIV prevention (see • Services for persons living with HIV/
HIV/AIDS often have related substance related story on page 12) AIDS and co-occurring mental health
use and mental health needs, SAMHSA • Methamphetamine use and prevention and substance use problems.
is examining how to best meet the in Indian Country For more information on SAMHSA’s
complex needs in a rapidly evolving • Trauma-informed and trauma-sensitive work on HIV/AIDS, visit http://www
health care environment.” services in substance use .samhsa.gov.
—By Susan Cruzan
A NATIONAL STRATEGY
The One SAMHSA meeting welcomed
the Director of the White House Office
of National AIDS Policy, Jeffrey Crowley.
“Our vision in the years ahead is that
our Nation will be a place where HIV For more information on HIV/AIDS . . . HIV/AIDS PREVENTION & SERVICE
infections will be rare,” he said. Setting WHITE HOUSE PROVIDER LOCATOR
the stage for the meeting, he advised Details of the National HIV/AIDS Strategy http://aids.gov/locator
participants to “focus on the populations announced in July 2010: http://www. CENTERS FOR DISEASE CONTROL
at the greatest risk.” He emphasized that whitehouse.gov/administration/eop AND PREVENTION (CDC)
as a Nation, we need to do a better job of /onap/nhas.
For “Youth and HIV: The HIV/AIDS
educating all Americans about reducing Fact sheet on HIV/AIDS: http://www.aids. Generation,” see CDC’s fact sheet at http://
HIV incidence, scaling up testing, and gov/federal-resources/policies/national- www.cdc.gov/hiv/resources/factsheets/
ensuring that people have immediate hiv-aids-strategy/nhas-fact-sheet.pdf youth.htm
links to care.
http://www.samhsa.gov/samhsaNewsletter . SEP/OCT 10 . SAMHSA News 13
New Survey Data Show Drug Use Rising
At a press conference to kick off Recovery
“We must find new ways to communicate with
Month 2010, SAMHSA officials revealed
troubling new data on substance use our youth about the dangers of substance
among people age 12 and older. abuse. Recovery Month activities work to make
The National Survey on Drug Use
and Health (NSDUH) shows the overall
recovery a shared experience in every city, town,
rate of current illicit drug use in the and village across this country.”
United States rose from 8.0 percent of the —Pamela S. Hyde, J.D.
population age 12 and older in 2008 to 8.7 SAMHSA Administrator
percent in 2009. This rise was driven in
large part by increases in marijuana use, “As SAMHSA’s new survey data 17-year-olds). Although the rate of overall
reported H. Westley Clark, M.D., J.D., indicate, substance use is rising among illicit drug use among young people in
M.P.H., Director of SAMHSA’s Center for all age groups and genders,” said SAMHSA 2009 remained below 2002 levels, youth
Substance Abuse Treatment. Administrator Pamela S. Hyde, J.D. use was higher in 2009 compared to 2008
Other increases included the nonmedical “Given the recent economic issues and (10.0 percent in 2009, versus 9.3 percent
use of prescription drugs, which rose from given what we know about the relationship in 2008, versus 11.6 percent in 2002).
2.5 percent of the population in 2008 between economic challenges and certain The rate of current tobacco use or
to 2.8 percent in 2009. In addition, types of substance use, perhaps these data underage drinking among this group
the estimated number of past-month are not surprising. But they do serve as a remained stable between 2008 and 2009.
ecstasy users rose from 555,000 in 2008 wake-up call to the Nation.” “Our strategies of the past have
to 760,000 in 2009, and the number stalled a bit with ‘Generation Next,’ ” said
of methamphetamine users rose from RISE IN YOUTH DRUG USE Administrator Hyde. “We must find new
314,000 to 502,000 during that period. Flat or increasing trends of substance ways to communicate with our youth
use were reported among youth (12- to about the dangers of substance abuse.”
Past-Month Marijuana Use among Youth Age 12 to 17, by Gender: 2002 to 2009
Percent Using in Past Month
8 7.5 7.5
7.2+ 7.2+ 7.1 7.3+
6.4 5.8 6.0
2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009
Among youth age 12 to 17 in 2009, males had a higher rate than females of current marijuana use (8.3 percent for males versus 6.3 percent for females).
+ Difference between this estimate and the 2009 estimate is statistically significant at the .05 level.
Source: SAMHSA, Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality (September 2010). Figure 2.9. Past-Month Marijuana Use among Youth Age 12 to 17, by
Gender: 2002 to 2009. Results from the 2009 National Survey on Drug Use and Health: Volume I. Summary of National Findings. Rockville, MD.
14 SAMHSA News . SEP/OCT 10 . http://www.samhsa.gov/samhsaNewsletter
MARIJUANA USE UP, PERCEPTION
OF RISK DOWN
Of particular concern are data on
marijuana, the most commonly used illicit
drug in 2009. There were 16.7 million
past-month users. Among people age 12
or older, the rate of past-month marijuana
use and the number of users in 2009 (6.6
percent or 16.7 million) were higher than
in 2008 (6.1 percent or 15.2 million) and in
2007 (5.8 percent or 14.4 million).
Among youth age 12 to 17, the rate of
(Left to right) As part of the Recovery Month launch, actress Roxy Olin described her experiences with drug abuse and
current marijuana use decreased from 8.2
her recovery as SAMHSA Administrator Pamela S. Hyde, ONDCP Director R. Gil Kerlikowske, and Tom Coderre, Chief of
percent in 2002 to 6.7 percent in 2006, Staff for the Rhode Island Senate President, listened to her story. “Over 3 years ago, I woke up in a hospital after having
remained unchanged at 6.7 percent in 2007 just flat-lined from an overdose,” Ms. Olin said. Data from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health show a rise in drug
use by young people.
and 2008, then increased to 7.3 percent in
2009. For information by gender, see chart.
Moreover, the level of youth
perceiving great risk of harm associated Recovery Month 2010
with smoking marijuana once or twice a
week dropped from 54.7 percent in 2007 From “Active Addiction” to Recovery
to 49.3 percent in 2009, marking the
Two people in recovery spoke at the press conference about their experiences. Tom
first time since 2002 that less than half
Coderre is the Chief of Staff for the Rhode Island Senate President and an Advocate for
of young people perceived great harm in Recovery. Roxy Olin is an actress in MTV’s reality show “The Hills” and ABC’s “Brothers
frequent marijuana use. and Sisters.” Selected excerpts follow.
Restored Hope “I Felt Invincible”
“In my active addiction, I was stuck in a “Addiction is the only disease that convinces
R. Gil Kerlikowske, Director of the crippling dead end, void of hope. Recovery you that you don’t have a disease,” said
White House Office of National Drug restored that hope,” said Mr. Coderre. Ms. Olin. “Over 3 years ago, I woke up in
Control Policy (ONDCP) said, “I cannot “I haven’t used alcohol or drugs to cope a hospital after having just flat-lined from an
rule out that the constant discussion with stress, escape from life, or change the overdose. My story may not be typical; I had
in the media of so-called medical way I feel in more than 7 years. Through a privileged upbringing, I’m very close to both
recovery, I’ve regained the things in my life of my parents, and I had a great education.
marijuana and marijuana legalization
that are most important to me—politics,
and the downplay of marijuana dangers “But my first word was ‘more,’ so I think
family, and friends.
addiction was in my blood from a very
sends the wrong message to teens.”
“In addition to educating people about young age. I tried marijuana first, and then
In 2009, during their most recent the dangers of drug abuse, we must also my friend’s mom’s OxyContin. The first time
treatment in the past year, 1.2 million educate them about the reality of recovery. I tried it, I felt invincible. I started to use
people age 12 or older reported receiving Sharing stories of recovery is an important almost on a daily basis. Lucky for me, my
treatment for marijuana use. That number part of broadening social understanding parents realized I had a problem.
and building public support.
is up from 947,000 people in 2008. “I asked for help and was in rehab for
The complete survey findings from “Wouldn’t it be nice to know just as much almost 9 months. I heard the stories of
SAMHSA’s Center for Behavioral Health about how people are recovering as we do people around me who had made a life for
about how they’re using? We need data themselves after being sober. I was not
Statistics and Quality are available on the
on how many people are in recovery, the ambitious in my addiction—sobriety made
SAMHSA website at http://oas.samhsa. services and supports helping people, and me ambitious. My actual life began once
gov/nsduhLatest.htm. the duration of their recovery.” I was able to get sober.”
http://www.samhsa.gov/samhsaNewsletter . SEP/OCT 10 . SAMHSA News 15
Communications and Behavioral Health
Health Communication, Marketing, and Media:
Why Behavioral Health Matters
Joining with the Centers for Disease academia, government, non-governmental The five “change” presentations
Control and Prevention (CDC), SAMHSA organizations, and the private sector. highlighted the following:
recently helped sponsor the fourth Conference participants were asked • SAMHSA’s Store and groundbreaking
annual National Conference on Health to examine the impact of more holistic behavioral health publications
Communication, Marketing, and Media. thinking on processes and outcomes. dissemination (SAMHSA)
Other partners included the National • Content syndication of the Quick Guide
Cancer Institute and the National Public AT THE CONFERENCE for Healthy Living (Office of Disease
Health Information Coalition. The For SAMHSA, the conference provided Prevention and Health Promotion)
conference convened at the Omni Hotel an energetic venue for a meeting of the • Mobile “apps” and consumer health
in Atlanta, GA, August 17 to 19. Agency’s National Advisory Council and information (NIH, Office of Dietary
This year’s theme, Convergence: a special session, “Behavioral Health Supplements)
Purpose, Programs, & Partners, invited is Essential to Health—A New National • Clinicians’ screening tools (NIH,
a “meeting of the minds” among the fields Communication Opportunity” (see page National Institute on Drug Abuse)
of health communication, marketing, 17). In addition, the Agency offered 21 • New technologies for reaching
and media in synergistic discussions scholarships to the conference. consumers and health professionals
with distinct sciences, methodologies, One of the four conference tracks, (IQ Solutions, Inc.)
and technologies. “Exploring Innovations,” offered See SAMHSA News online for details
Offering a forum for collegial dialogue attendees a chance to experience “the about these presentations.
across disciplines, the conference brought case for change,” including new ways to Is there a difference between
together individual researchers and expand outreach to communities across eliminating health disparities and
communications professionals from the Nation. achieving health equity? How do we
improve our mental and physical health?
How does storytelling help? Special
sessions below addressed these topics
Scholarships Awarded to State, and many others.
Local Public Health Professionals • SAMHSA’s Behavioral Health is
Essential to Health—A New National
More than 20 public health professionals “The conference was a great opportunity Communication Opportunity
at the state and local levels received to meet with peers, discuss new ideas, and • Hug’em, Nudge’em, or Slug’em: The
scholarships from SAMHSA to attend learn from a wide range of experts,” said Unique Role of Behavioral Economics
the 2010 National Conference on Health Clay Butcher, Communications Manager at in Health Behavior Change
Communication, Marketing, and Media the Alaska Department of Health and Social • Mobilizing a Nation to Achieve Health
in Atlanta. Services, in Anchorage.
Equity: Getting Beyond the Rhetoric
The purpose of the scholarships is to SAMHSA received nominations from CADCA • Connecting to Communities through
support public health professionals (Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America)
Partnerships with Ethnic Media.
who are seeking to learn and expand and NASMHPD (National Association of State
their knowledge of health marketing Mental Health Program Directors). For more on the conference, visit
and communications to plan, put into www.cdc.gov/healthmarketing/
The scholarships provided conference
action, and evaluate programs designed
registration and accommodations for 2 nchcmm2010.
to encourage positive changes in For a complete list of scholarship
days. For more quotes and a complete list
health-related behaviors in their
of scholarship recipients, visit SAMHSA recipients to the conference, visit
News online. SAMHSA News online.
16 SAMHSA News . SEP/OCT 10 . http://www.samhsa.gov/samhsaNewsletter
SAMHSA’s Special Session:
Behavioral Health is Essential to Health
To help highlight the important
connection between physical health and
behavioral health, SAMHSA presented
a special session at the Atlanta
conference, “Behavioral Health is
Essential to Health—A New National
Five panelists, including SAMHSA’s
Mark A. Weber, M.B.A., Director of the Panelists at SAMHSA’s special session, “Behavioral Health is Essential to Health—A New National Communication
Opportunity,” included (left to right) Lynn Cooper, David W. Price, Saul M. Levin, Mary Jane England, SAMHSA’s Mark A.
Agency’s Office of Communications,
Weber, and session moderator Thomas E. Backer.
were introduced by session moderator
Thomas E. Backer, Ph.D., President, alcohol was my biggest problem,” she said. primary care practitioner this message of
Human Interaction Research Institute. In “I was sent for brain scans for headaches, universal screening for mental health and
addition, SAMHSA Administrator Pamela sent to gastro-endocrinologists for substance use. “We have to incorporate
S. Hyde, J.D., offered her comments from stomach problems. Nobody ever asked into our medical education strategies
the audience. how much alcohol I was drinking every to help doctors. Number 1: screen
How does a key message from day. If my doctor had known I was efficiently. Number 2: help docs do this
SAMHSA, particularly “Behavioral drinking six or seven goblet-size glasses in a time-efficient manner, because they
Health is Essential to Health,” make of wine every day, he might have had a have a waiting room full of patients.”
its way to primary care physicians and different referral for me.” Saving money. “I was privileged to
their patients? According to Dr. Backer, Integrating behavioral health. chair the Institute of Medicine’s Quality
health care and behavioral health “I believe mental health and substance Chasm Report on Mental Health and
care providers, employers, insurance abuse issues are exactly like any other Substance Use Disorders,” said Mary Jane
companies, Government agencies, health primary care illness or disorder that England, M.D., President, Regis College,
communications professionals, and you may have,” said Saul M. Levin, Weston, MA. “The conclusion in that
the media all need to work together M.D., M.P.A., Vice President, American study says we will never have quality
“to deliver messages that change minds Medical Association. “It’s just like health care until we integrate mental
and change behaviors.” diabetes; it’s just like hypertension, and health and substance use disorders into
it should be treated as such.” Physicians primary care.” In most cases, employers
PANELIST COMMENTS need to understand that no matter what are willing to provide measures for
Each panelist discussed gaps in the specialty—surgeons, pediatricians, integrated care if they see it is cost
health care system and ways improved family practice doctors, internists, effective, Dr. England added.
communications could address those psychiatrists—they should be asking the Meeting the unmet need.
gaps. The following comments are a same questions of everyone who comes “Marketing is all about identifying
sample of their responses. SAMHSA into their practices. Dr. Levin added: an unmet need and then developing a
News online includes a transcript of “Ask, how much do you smoke? How strategy to meet it,” said SAMHSA’s Mark
the SAMHSA special session. much do you drink? What’s your food Weber. He emphasized that his role as a
Focusing on primary care and intake like? Are you depressed? What are panelist was to listen to the concerns of
screening. “We need to communicate the signs and symptoms of depression? Agency stakeholders who could inform the
to health practitioners that substance Are you anxious? What drugs may you be direction of SAMHSA’s communication
abuse and mental health screening needs on, both prescription and illicit drugs?” efforts. “What we’ve just heard from each
to take place as a routine practice in Communicating this message. of our panelists is that there’s clearly an
almost every medical setting,” said Lynn “It’s our problem,” said David W. unmet need here.” Mr. Weber welcomed
Cooper, Deputy Director, Pennsylvania Price, M.D., Medical Director, Kaiser the panelists to help SAMHSA develop a
Community Providers Association. Permanente National Continuing strategy and respond to this challenge.
Ms. Cooper framed her response Medical Education Program. “It’s not “It is critically important to advance the
through her experiences as a person in just the psychiatrist’s or the social health of our Nation,” he said.
recovery. “In my medical health care worker’s problem.” Dr. Price addressed
treatment, we never got to the fact that ways of communicating to the average
http://www.samhsa.gov/samhsaNewsletter . SEP/OCT 10 . SAMHSA News 17
We’d Like To Hear From You
We appreciate your feedback! Please send your comments, article ideas, and requests to: EDITOR
Kristin Blank, Associate Editor–SAMHSA News, IQ Solutions, Inc., 11300 Rockville Pike, Suite 901, Deborah Goodman
Rockville, MD 20852. Send email to firstname.lastname@example.org or fax to 301-984-4416.
SAMHSA News Team at IQ Solutions, Inc.
Comments: Meredith Hogan Pond
A. Martín Castillo
SAMHSA News is the national newsletter of the Substance
Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA),
U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS). The
newsletter is published six times a year by the Agency’s Office
of Communications. SAMHSA News is free of copyright.
SAMHSA News online has a convenient, new “feedback”
button for you to send us a comment or suggestion. You
can also use the space at the left to write your comments
I’d like to see an article about:
by hand. Either way, we look forward to hearing from you!
SAMHSA’s Administrator and Center Directors
Pamela S. Hyde, J.D.
A. Kathryn Power, M.Ed.
Name and title: Director, Center for Substance Abuse Prevention
H. Westley Clark, M.D., J.D., M.P.H.
Affiliation and field of specialization: Director, Center for Substance Abuse Treatment
Frances M. Harding
Director, Center for Mental Health Services
Address, city, state, ZIP: Peter Delany, Ph.D.
Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality
In the current issue, I found these articles particularly interesting or useful:
Health Care Reform Military Families
❏ What You Need To Know ❏ A Military Immersion Training for
❏ The Affordable Care Act’s Timeline Behavioral Health Providers
❏ What’s a Health Home?
❏ HealthCare.gov’s “Search and Compare” HIV/AIDS
❏ Hip-Hop Culture & Awareness
From the Administrator
❏ Recent Conferences
❏ Leading Change SAMHSA’s Blog Is Here
Behavioral Health & Communications
Located on the Agency’s redesigned website
❏ In Atlanta: Why Behavioral Health Matters at http://blog.samhsa.gov, the new SAMHSA
❏ Action Alliance Convenes ❏ SAMHSA’s Special Session: Behavioral blog includes relevant commentary and updates
Health is Essential to Health on timely events and happenings related to
❏ Breaking the Silence
SAMHSA’s 8 Strategic Initiatives and other news.
❏ Scholarships Awarded
Drug Abuse & Recovery What’s a blog?
❏ New Survey Data on Drug Use A blog is a contraction of the term “web log.”
❏ From “Active Addiction” to Recovery ❏ Your Redesigned SAMHSA.gov Entries are usually displayed in reverse-
chronological order. “Blog” is also used as a
❏ Oil Spill Distress Helpline Available
verb, e.g., “many Federal agencies are blogging
today.” SAMHSA is one of those agencies!
Read the latest entry at http://blog.samhsa.gov.
18 SAMHSA News . SEP/OCT 10 . http://www.samhsa.gov/samhsaNewsletter
Your Redesigned SAMHSA.gov
New Store Makes Ordering Publications Easy Access the treatment
SAMHSA.gov’s new look is a first Watch for updated breaking news in this revolving window! and more.
(but critical) step to provide a user-
centered and unified web presence
for the Agency. Our goal is to be
your main source for behavioral
The new home page at
built around the Agency’s eight
Strategic Initiatives. The eight
categories are prominently
displayed and each links to a web
page describing the critical work
being done in each area.
Sign up for
SAMHSA’s email list.
are listed clearly for Read press
your convenience. releases, the latest
on grants, and
Watch for updated
video spots in this
SAMHSA’s goal is to create a web presence that
is unified, user-centered, and recognized as the
leading source for expertise and innovation in
behavioral health information services. Be a part
of reaching that goal. Send your feedback!
ABOUT SAMHSA’S STORE
SAMHSA has a new “store” for free By becoming a registered user on the
publications and product needs— website, you have advantages:
manuals, brochures, videos, public
• Track previous and current orders.
service announcements, and more.
From the SAMHSA home page, click on • Save your shipping addresses.
“Publications.” Or you can link directly • Create “favorites” or a “wish list.”
• Receive notification when a product is
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http://www.samhsa.gov/samhsaNewsletter . SEP/OCT 10 . SAMHSA News 19
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration
Rockville, Maryland 20857
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Read about . . .
Adolescents & Violence
And the Winner Is . . .
A new national study reveals that
Thanks to everyone who entered their videos and essays
nearly 7.8 million adolescents
to SAMHSA’s “What a Difference a Friend Makes” contest.
Your entries demonstrated the importance of peer support age 12 to 17, almost one third
and acceptance in a friend’s recovery from a mental health (30.9 percent), participated in
problem or through a tough time. any of three violent behaviors
over the past year.
Grand Prize and Runners-Up
Francesca Pileggi of Glen Mills, PA, is the grand prize winner Veterans Day
for her video, “Always Be There.” She received a trip for two
to attend the recent Voice Awards celebration in Los Angeles, On November 11, 2010, Veterans
CA. Her video was showcased at the event. Day events honor members of
The runners-up—Jonathan Ehinger for “Supreme Teens” and the military who have served
Diane McDaniel for “Friendship: Hope for Mental Illness”—and or are currently serving our
essay contest winners Susan Putnins for “A Promise” and John Nation. Read more about
Rundle for “Norma” each received a Flip MinoHD™ video camera. SAMHSA’s Strategic Initiative
Check out the winning submissions at on Military Families.