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SAMHSA’s Behavioral Health Barometer Provides Key Insights on the Nation’s Behavioral Health

Posted: July 13, 2017

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA) Behavioral Health Barometer, United States, Volume 4 (pdf) report provides a powerful overview of the nation’s behavioral health. The Barometer includes key behavioral health issues such as the prevalence of substance use, serious mental illness, serious thoughts of suicide, and related treatment. Furthermore, the Barometer breaks down its findings into major groups according to age, gender, racial and ethnic categories, poverty status, and health insurance status.

For example, the Barometer shows the national annual prevalence of prescription opioid misuse and heroin use as well as increases in receipt of medication-assisted treatments over time. Among individuals aged 12 or older in the U.S. in 2015, about 12.5 million persons (4.7 percent) reported misusing prescription pain relievers, and about 828,000 persons (0.3 percent) reported using heroin.

Regarding facility-based substance use disorder (SUD) treatment, from 2011 to 2015, the number of individuals who received methadone as part of their SUD treatment increased by about 16 percent from 306,440 to 356,843, and the number who received buprenorphine as part of their substance use disorder treatment more than doubled from 32,676 to 75,724.

The Barometer also shows trends in an array of mental health issues and related treatment. For example, it shows a significant increase in the national annual prevalence of major depressive episodes among adolescents aged 12 to 17, which rose from 8.2 percent in 2011 to 12.5 percent in 2015. Only 39.3% of adolescents aged 12 to17 with a major depressive episode in the past year received treatment for depression, compared with 60.7% who did not receive treatment.

Read more on Read the full report (pdf).

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