National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day

The Caring for Every Child’s Mental Health Campaign seeks to raise awareness about the importance of children’s mental health and that positive mental health is essential to a child’s healthy development from birth. National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day is a key strategy of the Caring for Every Child’s Mental Health Campaign.

National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day Events reinforce the importance of children’s mental health.

2015 marks the 10th anniversary of Awareness Day; the official observance is Thursday, May 7. ​Learn about activities and events being planned across the country for Awareness Day 2015


Your Life Matters!

A New Suicide Prevention Campaign for Faith Communities

The Front of the SAMHSA building at 1 Choke Ch...

The National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention (Action Alliance) recently launched the “Your Life Matters!” campaign. During the campaign, the Action Alliance encourages every faith tradition to dedicate one day of worship each year to celebrate life, hope, and reasons to live. Faith traditions can consider observing this celebration near September 10, which is World Suicide Prevention Day. However, the message that each congregant’s life matters could be promoted anytime during the year, whenever it fits the needs of the local faith community.

Faith communities are in a unique position to reach a large portion of the millions of Americans who struggle with serious thoughts of suicide each year. Many people feel hopeless or trapped, or are in such emotional pain or despair that they struggle to face another day.

“Research shows that many people in these kinds of crises will accept help and support from faith leaders and faith community members, before they will seek care from mental health professionals,” according to Dr. Anne Mathews-Younes, Co-Lead of the Faith Communities Task Force and Division Director at SAMHSA’s Center for Mental Health Services at HHS. Dr. Mathews-Younes suggests that “Faith communities can help their members by supporting those who face mental health challenges and/or problems with misuse of alcohol and other drugs, as they seek effective treatment.”

Learn More at Your Life Matters!

SAMHSA Celebrates 25 Years of National Recovery Month and Releases Data on Substance Abuse

This past week, mental health experts and those recovering from mental illness, including substance use disorders, gathered at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., to celebrate the 25th anniversary of National Recovery Month, which is sponsored by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).“[For] a quarter of a century, we have been illuminating, defining, validating, and shaping a concept into a fact that people do recover from addiction and mental illness,” said SAMHSA Administrator, Pamela Hyde, J.D., in addressing the audience (photo above). “[Today] we acknowledge and celebrate that reality.”

As part of the celebration, SAMHSA released some of the data from its 2013 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH). “An estimated 24.6 million Americans 12 years and older were current drug users,” Hyde reported, emphasizing that means more than 9% of the U.S. population acknowledged drug use at the time of the survey. Marijuana was the most commonly used illicit drug, with 19.8 million individuals saying they used it in the month prior to the survey. The next most common example of illicit drug use was nonmedical use of prescription pain relievers, used by 4.5 million individuals. Alcohol use was estimated to be prevalent in about half (52.2%) of the U.S. population aged 12 and older, with 60.1 million individuals acknowledging binge drinking. SAMHSA reported that of the people who needed treatment for a substance use disorder or alcohol use disorder, only 11% received help.

The latest NSDUH survey also found that drug use is up slightly from last year. Hyde stated that the alarming rates of drug use, especially marijuana use, may be a result of a growing perception that the use of one drug is less harmful than another. “‘Social norms’ have to change,” said Hyde, “or else we are going to keep meeting here every fall and sharing the same problem. We will be watching [these trends] closely over the next few years.”

To view available data from the 2013 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, click here. For information on the risk perception of certain illicit drugs, see the Psychiatric News article, “News Is Mixed on Teenagers and Substance Use.”