Teens and young adults (ages 18 to 25) who had participated in these treatment programs supported by SAMHSA reported reduced levels of substance use disorders.
Twenty percent of young adults living in U.S. households had a mental health condition in the last year, and of these patients, over 1.3 million had a disorder so severe that their ability to function in daily life was jeopardized.
The authors said:
"To address this need SAMHSA sponsors a wide range of programs directed toward treating many behavioral health challenges facing older adolescents and young adults including mental health conditions and co-occurring substance use disorders."
In several cases, these programs have helped older teens and young adults recover and start living productively.
According to the scientists, among the older adolescents and young adults who took part in the SAMHSA-sponsored Comprehensive Community Mental Health Services for Children and Their Families Program, 28% showed notable improvements in their behavioral and emotional health within the first 6 months, while 38% showed considerable improvement within the first 12 months.
Many patients said that they had increased confidence in their abilities to carry out essential life skills, including putting meals together and securing rental agreements.
After being involved in the program for six months, homelessness was reduced by 36% among the participants aged 18 and older. A previous study conducted by the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) School of Medicine showed that the prevalence of homelessness in people with severe mental illness is higher than scientists had previously thought.
Comparably, among the participants involved in the SAMHSA-sponsored Emerging Adults Initiative (EAI) program, a 30% rise was seen in young adults reporting that they had a secure place to reside in the community and a 37% rise in those reporting they had positive functioning in daily life.
SAMHSA Administrator Pamela S. Hyde said:
"These data show that treatment is effective. Young people who experience mental or substance use disorders can recover and lead healthy, productive lives with improvements in employment opportunities, housing, education and emotional well-being."
Additionally, the scientists noted that many patients in SAMSHA-sponsored substance use treatment programs also received therapy for mental conditions. This treatment was helpful for improving mental health and recovering from substance use disorders.
A recent study published in the journal BMJ Open found that about 1 in every 10 teens with mental health problems drinks alcohol, smokes tobacco, and uses cannabis.
Among the older teens and young adults engaged in these programs, a 34% drop was seen in the number of patients reporting mental health issues, such as depression or anxiety, and an 80% rise was seen in the number of patients living in the community.
The authors also noted that after 6 months of involvement in SAMHSA's Pregnant and Postpartum Women program, 86% of young adults reported no substance use, compared to 40% of those starting the program, and twenty-nine percent of the participants had a job or were in school, compared to just 13% of those entering the program.
Written by Sarah Glynn