SAMHSA’s Award-Winning Newsletter
March/April 2011, Volume 19, Number 2 

image of logo for National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention

Action Alliance Identifies Three High-Risk Populations for Suicide Prevention Efforts

Task Forces on LGBT Youth, American Indians and Alaska Natives, Military and Veterans

The National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention has added three new task forces to address suicide prevention efforts within high-risk populations: American Indians/Alaska Natives (AI/AN); youth who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender (LGBT); and military service members and veterans.

This brings to six the number of task forces formed by the Action Alliance, the public-private partnership forged in September 2010 to advance the National Strategy for Suicide Prevention (NSSP). The other task forces are Data and Surveillance, Research, and NSSP.

SAMHSA will provide support and technical expertise for the task forces and the Action Alliance, in cooperation with the private sector and other Federal support. All task forces will include leading experts in the field, including researchers and scientists, advocates, and family members.

“I am heartened that we are focusing attention on communities hardest hit by suicide,” said former U.S. Senator Gordon H. Smith, co-chair of the Action Alliance. “By shining a light on their struggles I am optimistic we can help them identify solutions and bring hope for a better tomorrow.”

According to Federal data, in the United States, suicide claims more than 34,000 lives annually—the equivalent of 94 suicides per day, or one suicide every 15 minutes.

Looking Ahead

In the coming months, the Action Alliance will determine how to address suicide risk in other high-risk groups, such as Latina youth, older adults, individuals with disabilities, survivors of suicide attempts and of suicide loss, and working-aged men and women.

For more about the Action Alliance, read SAMHSA News online, September/October 2010, or visit http://www.actionallianceforsuicideprevention.org.

image of LGBT youth, an at-risk group

LGBT Youth

Studies from organizations such as the SAMHSA-funded Suicide Prevention Resource Center report that lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender youth are from 1.5 to 7 times more likely to report having attempted suicide than their non-LGBT peers, while transgender youth are believed to have higher rates of suicidal behavior as well.

Co-leading the LGBT Youth Task Force are Kevin Jennings, Assistant Deputy Secretary, Office of Safe and Drug-Free Schools, U.S. Department of Education; and Charles Robbins, Executive Director of the Trevor Project.

image of AI/AN youth, an at-risk group

AI/AN Populations

For AI/AN youth and young adults age 10 to 34, suicide is the second leading cause of death and is on the rise.

Jointly leading the American Indians and Alaska Natives Task Force are Yvette Roubideaux, M.D., M.P.H., Director of the Indian Health Service; Larry Echo Hawk, J.D., Assistant Secretary of Indian Affairs, U.S. Department of the Interior; and McClellan Hall, M.A., Executive Director, National Indian Youth Leadership Project.

For more information about a SAMHSA grant program that addresses mental health problems among Native youth, see SAMHSA News online, November/December 2010.

image of military and veterans, an at risk group

Active Military and Veterans

As previously reported in SAMHSA News and the national media, research indicates that there are increased suicide rates among veterans, and suicide rates among service members recently reached historic highs within the Army and Marine Corps.

Leading the Military and Veterans Task Force are Jan Kemp, R.N., Ph.D., National Director, Suicide Prevention Program for the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs; and Maggie Haynes, Director of Combat Stress for the Wounded Warrior Project.


  Cover Story & Related Articles  
Preventing Suicide on College Campuses

Preventing Suicide on College Campuses

College can be a stressful time, and the numbers bear that out.


  From the Administrator  
Suicide Prevention Is Top Priority

Suicide Prevention Is Top Priority

Suicide prevention is top priority at SAMHSA. Read more.


  Children & Trauma  
Children’s Mental Health

Children’s Mental Health

Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day focuses on trauma.


  Grants  
Block Grants: Changes Open for Comments

Block Grants: Changes Open for Comments

Have a comment on the recent changes to the block grants?


  Art & Prevention  
How Art Can Raise Awareness

How Art Can Raise Awareness

SAMHSA commissioned a painting by Sam English.


  Awards Season  
PRISM Awards & Voice Awards

PRISM Awards & Voice Awards

Two awards galas honor accurate depictions of mental health and substance abuse issues.


  Suicide Prevention  
National Action Alliance & High-Risk Groups

National Action Alliance & High-Risk Groups

Nat’l Action Alliance’s new task forces, ER reports on antidepressants, drug-related attempts.


  Alcohol Awareness Month  
From SAMHSA’s Blog

From SAMHSA’s Blog

Who’s at risk? Read SAMHSA’s blog. Videos by states on underage drinking.


  Also in this Issue  
Healing Beyond Borders

Healing Beyond Borders

SAMHSA-Iraq Initiative focuses on mental health.

Traumatic Brain Injury

Traumatic Brain Injury

An advisory from SAMHSA’s CSAT.


  Statistics & Data  
Inhalants Update

Inhalants Update

Inhalants are dangerous. Who is “huffing”?


  Women & Substance Abuse  
Young Mothers

Young Mothers

Age 15 to 19 is a vulnerable time.


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