SAMHSA Report Holds Useful Data on Behavioral Health in Pennsylvania

SAMHSA's The National Behavioral Health Barometer looks at trends and snapshots of American mental health, drug and alcohol dependency and substance use.
SAMHSA’s National Behavioral Health Barometer looks at recent data on mental health, drug and alcohol dependency and substance use.

Last week the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) announced a new report containing a wealth of data on American’s behavioral health, both overall and at the state level.  The National Behavioral Health Barometer looks at mental illness, alcohol dependency, illicit drug use, treatment rates and perceptions of the dangers of substance use. This timely trend and snapshot data – particularly those from the state reports – might be helpful for your upcoming grant writing, business planning,  or community initiative proposals.

Highlights from the national report:

  • In 2012, approximately 4 percent of adults had a severe mental illness the year prior to the survey.
  • In 2012, more females 12 to 17 years old (13.7 percent) reported a major depressive episode in the year prior than males (4.7 percent), and 37 percent of youths received treatment for depression within the year prior to being surveyed.
  • Between 2008 and 2012, cigarette use among youths (across all racial groups) declined from 9.2 to 6.6. percent.
  • In 2012, people between 18 and 25 years of age reported the highest rate of alcohol dependence/abuse (14.3 percent). The rate of alcohol dependency of those over age 12 decreased overall between 2008 (7.4 percent) and 2012 (6.8 percent).

Highlights from the Pennsylvania report:

  •  The rate of adults in Pennsylvania having a severe mental illness in 2012 was the same as the national rate. The majority of adults served in the Commonwealth’s public mental health system were unemployed (70 percent) followed by those not in the workforce (20.6 percent).  The percentages of both adults and youths reporting improvement after treatment in the public mental health system were lower than the national rate.
  • Similar to the national level data, in 2012, 8.7 percent of Pennsylvania youth ages 12 to 17 reported a past year major depressive episode.  40.4 percent received treatment for depression during that time period.
  • Although the percentage of Pennsylvania youth who smoke cigarettes declined since 2008, in 2012 it remained above the national rate –  8.8 percent compared to 7.2 percent. The mean age of first cigarette use among Pennsylvania youth was 14 years old.
  • In 2012, 37.1 percent of Pennsylvania youth did not perceive great risk  from smoking one or more packs of cigarettes daily, an increase from 2008 (34.3 percent) and above the national rate of 34.1 percent.
  • Pennsylvania’s rate of alcohol dependency/abuse and rate of illicit drug dependency/abuse among people age 12 and over remained stable between the years of 2008-2012 and were similar to the national rates.

Copies of the national publication and all state reports are available for download at the SAMHSA website.

 

Photo Credit:  Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Behavioral Health Barometer: United States,2013. HHS Publication No. SMA-13-4796. Rockville, MD: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, 2013.

Report Citations:   Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Behavioral Health Barometer: United States,2013. HHS Publication No. SMA-13-4796. Rockville, MD: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, 2013.

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Behavioral Health Barometer: Pennsylvania, 2013. HHS Publication No. SMA-13-4796PA. Rockville, MD: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, 2013.

 

Mental Health Risk Factors Among Refugees

Escape from conflict in one’s native country does not necessarily make for a life free of serious concerns or mental health challenges according to research out of the University of London, recently published in BioMed Central Public Health (available online).  Using a mixed-methods approach, the researchers examined  the social and environmental conditions in of two groups of Somali refugees – one group settled in London, England and one in Minnesota in the United States.

The study, Migration experiences, employment status and psychological distress among Somali immigrants: a mixed-method international study,  reveals the power of the mere label of “refugee”, along with other findings:

  • Employment was a major factor in the wellness of the displaced Somalis. Gainful employment lowered the risk for depression for respondents by a significant amount.
  • In London, 90 percent of the Somalis were unemployed, compared to 26 percent in the Minnesota group.  Even with similar pre-resettlement backgrounds, the rates of current major depression, suicide ideation and agoraphobia were higher among the London group.
  • The label “refugee” was a sort of stigma in itself, lending to a feeling of powerlessness. Researchers noted that even those displaced persons with professional-level skills and knowledge of the English language found it difficult to adapt to their new surroundings.

This study may be helpful for nonprofits that offer resettlement services as it highlights significant risk factors for mental health challenges that impact the refugee population both in Europe and the United States.  As the data suggest, while language skills and employment status are of high importance, the needs of this population are more complex and nuanced than perhaps realized by policy-makers and service providers.

 

Study Citation:  Migration experiences, employment status and psychological distress among Somali immigrants: a mixed-method international study BMC Public Health 2012, 12:749 doi:10.1186/1471-2458-12-749. Nasir Warfa (n.warfa@qmul.ac.uk) Sarah Curtis (S.E.Curtis@durham.ac.uk) Charles Watters (c.watters@rutgers.edu) Ken Carswell (k.carswell@qmul.ac.uk) David Ingleby (J.D.Ingleby@uu.nl) Kamaldeep Bhui (n.warfa@qmul.ac.uk) September 2012. http://www.biomedcentral.com/1471-2458/12/749/abstract

Alcohol and Your Health – A Resource for Women

According to 2008 data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), nearly 19 percent of Pennsylvania women ages 18 to 44 reported drinking more than 4 drinks at one occasion during the past month. This amount is above the national median of 14.7 percent of women of childbearing age.

Alcohol and women’s health, including the causes and effects of alcohol abuse and methods of prevention and treatment of alcohol addiction, are a key area of research by the Office of Research on Women’s Health (ORWH) at the National Institute of Health (NIH). The report, Alcohol: A Women’s Health Issue, a collaboration between NIH and the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism is a thorough overview of the long-term impacts of alcohol use on the health and overall well-being of women.

The brief presents information on:

  • the specific (and unique) physical health effects of alcohol for women,
  • the risks of heavy drinking,
  • demographic data on women who are heavy drinkers, and
  • the future direction of research on this health concern.

 

The brief is available online at no cost. .

Pittsburgh Agencies Partner with RAND on Child and Family Initiative

Community Care and The Alliance for Infants & Toddlers in Allegheny County have partnered with RAND for the initiative, Helping Families Raise Healthy Children. This venture will help local professionals and organizations provide tailored support and services to families with young children to reduce caregiver stress and improve familial well being.

Specifically, the project hopes to improve identification of, and intervention with, families where adult caregiver depression and early childhood developmental delays are present. The initiative has posted informational webinars on the topic of infant mental health and family functioning on the RAND website.