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Diabetes Among African-Americans With
Mental Health and Substance Use Disorders 

Diabetes Among African-Americans With Mental Health and Substance Use Disorders  

Source: CDC's Prevent Diabetes Web page (


February is Black History Month. As we take this month to celebrate the many accomplishments among the  African-American community, let's not forgot to also reflect on the fact that average rates for chronicdiseases continue to be high among African-Americans nationally.  SAMHSA's Wellness Initiative acknowledges that health challenges exist within our larger peer communities, but are higher within the African-American peer community.  According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), African-American adults are about 22 percent more likely to say they experience serious psychological distress than non-Hispanic white adults, and physicians diagnose African-American adults with diabetes slightly more than 1.5 times as often as they diagnose non-Hispanic white adults with the same.  African-Americans are also more than twice as likely as their non-Hispanic white adult counterparts to die from this disease.


Diabetes is a growing health concern for all peers and persons in recovery.  According to SAMHSA's National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) 2012 report, Physical Health Conditions among Adults with Mental Illnesses, 3.5 million adults in the United States had both a mental illness and diabetes at the same time----nearly 6 percent of the population of adults with any mental illness.  According to the CDC's 2011 National Diabetes Fact Sheet, people with diabetes are twice as likely to have depression than people without diabetes.  What's more, people with depression are at greater risk (60 percent) of developing type 2 diabetes than people without depression. 


American Diabetes Alert Day Is March 26! 

ADA risk test 
Source: Screenshot of test Web page.

As we continue springing into wellness, one great way to do this is by improving our physical health and reducing our risk factors for heart disease, diabetes, and more.  Many peers, families, and communities want to take action to improve their health and that of their loved ones.  A small step you can take in this direction is to spread the word that Tuesday, March 26, is American Diabetes Association® Alert Day®.  The American Diabetes Association encourages people to take the free online Type 2 Diabetes Risk Test to measure their risk for developing type 2 diabetes.  Test participants answer simple questions about age, weight, family history, and other possible risk factors for prediabetes or type 2 diabetes.  After determining participants' risk, the test encourages them to take the next step to reduce their risk through tips on healthy eating, physical activity, smoking cessation, and more.  While Alert Day is March 26, the risk test is available year-round.


Get on the Wellness Map!

Source: Screenshot of map Web page

Throughout 2013, SAMHSA's Wellness Initiative will be listing wellness events and activities on its interactive U.S. map.  View ideas on last year's map.  Wellness events and activities that your communities held in January and plan to hold to promote wellness year-round will be featured!  Email and tell us your organization, activity title and description, date, time, and contact information, and you will be featured on the map.  One event will be highlighted in each Wellness Update, so stay tuned to see if your event is featured! 



Promote #DiabetesAlertDay on Social Media

Source: Screenshot of Facebook page. 

To encourage your community to take the Diabetes Risk Test, share these sample Facebook and Twitter messages and links with your friends and followers.  On Twitter, we will be following the #DiabetesAlertDay hashtag to see what you add to the conversation!



Facebook (remember to "tag" SAMHSA in your post by writing "@samhsa" and selecting "SAMHSA" from the options): 

  • Did you know that people with diabetes are twice as likely than people without diabetes to have depression?  Also, the risk for people with depression developing type 2 diabetes increases by 60 percent as compared to people without depression.  Encourage your loved ones to take the free Type 2 Diabetes Risk Test today!  @samhsa
  • Diabetes and depression can often go hand in hand.  Spread the word that diabetes Alert Day is March 26! @samhsa
  • Peers and persons in recovery have a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes.  What are you doing to lower your risk?  Take the free Type 2 Diabetes Risk Test today @samhsa 

Twitter (use the hashtag "#DiabetesAlertDay" to follow the conversation):

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About SAMHSA's Wellness Initiative

Since 2007, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) has promoted the improved wellness of people with behavioral health problems by engaging, educating, and training providers, consumers, and policy makers. SAMHSA partners with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's Office of Women's Health (FDA/OWH) and Million Hearts™, a national initiative to prevent one million heart attacks and strokes over the next five years, to disseminate wellness messages and motivate individuals and community organizations to take action for wellness. 

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