New Report is a Barometer for Americans’ Behavioral Health

A new report from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) revealed that the behavioral health of our nation is improving in some areas, particularly among youth substance use and in mental health treatment access to care.

For example, past month use of both illicit drugs and cigarettes has fallen for youth ages 12-17 from 2009 to 2013 (from 10.1 percent to 8.8 percent for illicit drugs and 9.0 percent to 5.6 percent for cigarettes). Past month binge drinking among youth ages 12-17 has also fallen from 2009 to 2013 (from 8.9 percent to 6.2 percent).

The report, “National Behavioral Health Barometer,” provides data about key aspects of behavioral healthcare issues affecting American communities including rates of serious mental illness, suicidal thoughts, substance use, underage drinking, and the percentages of those who seek treatment for these disorders. The Barometer shows this data at the national level, and for each state and the District of Columbia.

Also noted in the report is that the number of people receiving treatment for a substance use problem has increased six percent from 2009 to 2013. It also shows that the level of adults experiencing serious mental illness who received treatment rose from 62.9 percent in 2012 to 68.5 percent in 2013.

The findings will be enormously helpful to decision makers at all levels who are seeking to reduce the impact of substance abuse and mental illness on America’s communities, said SAMHSA’s Administrator, Pamela S. Hyde, in a news release. Hyde will be addressing CADCA’s coalitions at its 25th annual National Leadership Forum next week.

To view and download copies of the national or any state Behavioral Health Barometer, visit the SAMHSA website.