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SAMHSA’s Award-Winning Newsletter
September/October 2008, Volume 16, Number 5 

Returning Veterans and Behavioral Health

Building on Strength

“Service members have a very strong identification with strength,” said plenary speaker Marine Sergeant Dan Taslitz, who suffered accidental brain injury in Iraq from carbon monoxide after Marine combat and reconnaissance service. “My identity was shattered. I was no longer a strong athlete and leader,” Mr. Taslitz explained. But resilience was a strong element in his recovery. “It opens the door to support,” he added.

“The Army’s new guidance is to make it a sign of strength, not weakness, to come forward to seek mental health care,” General Graham said.

He is working with his officers and noncommissioned officers at Fort Carson to create a healthy climate where soldiers will seek help without fear that it could hurt their careers. The number of individuals at Fort Carson coming forward for help has increased, he said. “We believe we are on the right track.”

Following the public conference day, SAMHSA convened a 2-day Policy Academy for teams from nine states and one territory.

By invitation after a brief competition nationwide, those included Florida, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Utah, and Washington, as well as American Samoa.

Team members represented state governments, mental health and substance abuse providers, veterans and faith-based organizations, and family members.

photo of Major Davina French and Dr. Elizabeth Lopez

After her plenary presentation, Major Davina French (left), joins Dr. Elizabeth Lopez (right), Chief of SAMHSA’s Homelessness Services Branch, for a photo. Photo by Paola Sanmartin

Their goal? A seamless system of care for returning veterans and their families in their home states. A list of challenges to helping veterans included plans for employment, universal health coverage, community coalitions, and support for children and families.

Recommendations from the Policy Academy will be available within 60 days. State plans will be reviewed by SAMHSA, the DoD, and the VA.

For more information as it becomes available on the Policy Academy, visit For a comprehensive list of resources for returning veterans and their families, see Resources for Veterans.


Grant Awards Announced

SAMHSA recently announced grant awards for programs related to children's mental health, suicide, drug-free communities, and others.

Grant Awards Update

  National Survey on Drug Use  
  and Health  

Youth Substance Use Declines

From the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, new national data show a drop in illicit drug use among youth and an increase in adult prescription drug misuse.

image of part of a bar chart

Drugs and Youth: Chart Shows 2002 to 2007 Data

Marijuana, cocaine—changes in use of selected illicit drugs among youth, 2002 versus 2007.

logo for National Alcohol and Drug Addiction Recovery Month

Recovery Month Testimonials

Two people relate their personal stories of addiction, recovery, and hope.

  Mental Health  
photo of a hand holding a pen to paper

Making Mental Health Services Accessible

Can primary care doctors help with mental health problems? New strategies to overcome barriers associated with reimbursement.

the letter i depicted as an icon representing a friend to lean on

Pros and Cons of Self-Disclosure

What are the risks and benefits of revealing a mental health problem to friends or coworkers?

photo of a boy pointing and a girl laughing

Bullying: Starting the Conversation

Bullies are out there—SAMHSA resources can help parents and educators address the problem.

  Substance Abuse  
photo of people sitting in a circle

Mutual Support Groups: Fact Sheet for Providers

What do you know about mutual support groups? Providers can help connect clients with groups that help people achieve recovery.

photo of a sign reading “Repeated Admissions Start Line Here”

First-Time Versus Repeat Admissions

New SAMHSA data reveal characteristics of first-time and repeat admissions to substance abuse treatment.

SAMHSA’s National Registry of Evidence-based Programs and Practices

Registry Posts 100th Evidence-Based Practice

NREPP reaches a milestone—find out how the Registry can link communities to interventions specific to their needs.

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