First-of-its kind report
Clinicians, researchers and policymakers now have a more
complete picture about the mental health problems and
progress in their states, thanks to the “Behavioral Health
Barometer,” a new resource from the Substance Abuse and
Mental Health Services Administration. The barometer
includes state and national data on rates of mental illness,
suicidal thoughts and substance abuse over time, allowing
states to direct resources where they are needed most.
“If you’re a planner or policymaker, it’s important
to know where your state sits and where it’s moving so
you can think about what you want to do to address
it,” says Rear Admiral Peter Delany, PhD, who directs
SAMHSA’s Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and
Quality. Clinicians, too, can use the information to better
understand their clients’ conditions in the context of their
community and state, he says.
For example, the national barometer indicates that
the rate of major depressive episodes among Hispanic
adults has increased from 2. 5 percent in 2011 to 3. 5
percent in 2012, suggesting that more needs to be done to
address mental health disparities. Eighteen- to 25-year-
olds, too, are a population at risk when it comes to
alcohol dependence: 14. 3 percent of those surveyed were
dependent on or abused alcohol in 2012, according to the
On the upside, more Americans appear to be receiving
the mental health treatment they need.
For example, 1. 25 million Americans were enrolled in
substance use treatment in 2012, an increase from 1. 19
million in 2008, the barometer reports. The shift may
reflect a decreasing stigma for mental health treatment
and greater access to care.
The barometer is based on various federal surveys and
data from SAMHSA, the Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention, the National Institute on Drug Abuse and the
Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.
“Like all research, [the barometer] allows planners
and policy-makers and researchers and providers to say,
‘Maybe I want to target something in a way I haven’t
thought about before,’” Delany says.
To read the report, go to http://store.samhsa.gov/
— ANNA MILLER
Percentage of transgender and gender non-conforming people who have attempted suicide,
according to a survey conducted by the National
Gay and Lesbian Task Force and National Center
for Transgender Equality. Among the general U.S.
population, only 4. 6 percent of people have ever
How much more likely women with severe mental-health related activity limitations are to be victims
of intimate partner violence than those without a
disability, according to a January study of 6,851
Canadian women in BioMed Central Public Health.
Percentage of gay and bisexual
adolescent males who have used
steroids without a prescription,
compared with 4 percent of
straight adolescent males,
according to a February study
in Pediatrics. Higher rates of
depressive symptoms, suicidality,
victimization and substance use
among sexual minority boys
contributed to the difference.
How many North and Latin Americans die
each year from drinking alcohol, according to a
January study in Addiction that analyzed 238,367
deaths. Poorer nations, including El Salvador and
Guatemala, had the highest death rates related to
By the numbers