Rationale MHSA Goal 2

Goal 2.1: Prevent underage drinking, non-medical use of prescription pain relievers drugs by youth, and excessive alcohol consumption by adults

  • Substance abuse and addiction negatively impact the health, public safety, welfare and education of NYS residents.
  • Early alcohol use is an important risk factor for many chronic diseases, involvement in violent behaviors, suicide attempts among youth, and other emotional/behavioral problems, including bulimia, borderline personality disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder and anxiety disorders.
  • Substance-using youth are more likely to have academic problems in middle and high school.
  • One longitudinal study found that early alcohol users had significantly higher absenteeism and poorer grades. In seventh grade, 39 percent drinkers vs. 24 percent non-drinkers had poor academic grades. As high school seniors, 32 percent of drinkers vs. 21 percent of non-drinkers had poor academic grades.13

Goal 2.2: Prevent and reduce occurrence of mental, emotional and behavioral disorders among youth and adults.

  • Poor mental health is associated with lower life expectancy, decrease work productivity, and serious mental health disorders such as depression, and substance abuse disorders.
  • Mental, emotional and behavioral disorders are developmental and their severity is likely to worsen without treatment.
  • A developmental perspective is key (vital) to successful prevention.

Goal 2.3: Prevent suicides among youth and adults.

  • Every suicide is preventable.
  • Suicide and suicide attempts are associated with depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, post-traumatic stress disorder, and alcohol and/or drug use disorders.29,30,31,32 The New York City Office of the Chief Medical Examiner data from 2007-2008 found that 64% had a documented history of depression, 8 percent history of schizophrenia, and 5% history of anxiety.33
  • Serious MEB disorders and substance abuse elevates suicide risk by 6 - 12 times over the general population.
  • Youth with suicidal risk behaviors and substance abuse disorders are more likely to have experienced trauma, an event more overwhelming than a person ordinarily would be expected to encounter, such as sexual abuse, witnessing a murder, or a natural disaster such as a hurricane.
  • A systemic approach to suicide prevention can comprehensively address suicide risk, suicide attempts and hospital visits.
  • Need for systems and a culture to understand that suicide prevention is everyone's responsibility.34
  • Standardized screening, assessment, risk stratification and interventions are needed.

Goal 2.4: Reduce tobacco use among adults who report poor mental health.

  • Smoking is higher among individuals reporting poor mental health than those reporting good mental health.
  • Based on the Adult Tobacco Survey, from 2003-2004 to 2009-2010, smoking prevalence declined by 21 percent among those with good mental health (19.2% to 15.2%) and remained unchanged among those who report their mental health was not good. Smoking prevalence for those who reported that their mental health was not good was twice that of those with good mental health (30.9% vs. 15.2%).

Note: The Prevention Agenda 2013-2017 has been extended to 2018 to align its timeline with other state and federal health care reform initiatives.

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