Tribal Members Invited to Suicide Prevention Talks

April 9th, 2015 by Kelli Donley No comments »

DBHS, in partnership with the Arizona Commission of Indian Affairs, invites tribal leaders and tribal community members to attend upcoming conversations on suicide prevention and supportive housing resources.

Attendees will learn specifically how tribal members can access behavioral health services, what signs to look for to prevent suicide and about an innovative suicide surveillance system created by the White Mountain Apache Tribe.  Information will also be shared on HUD programs that may be used for group homes, child care facilities and domestic violence shelters.

These events take place:

Thursday, May 7th

9:00 am – 4:00 pm

Casino del Sol  5655 W. Valencia Road, Tucson, AZ 85757


Thursday, May 21st

9:00 am – 4:00 pm

Twin Arrows Casino 22181 Resort Blvd, Flagstaff, AZ 86004

A light breakfast and lunch are included. There is no fee to attend, but registration is limited to 50 individuals at each event.  To attend, please Kelly Hedman at or call 602.542.4426.

Cash Prize Offered For Development of Alcohol Biosensor

April 8th, 2015 by Kelli Donley No comments »

April is Alcohol Awareness Month. With that in mind, a brief in the Federal Register from researchers at the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) caught our eye.

They are proposing two considerable cash prizes toward the development of a wearable and “discreet” device capable of measuring a person’s blood alcohol level in real time.

Two cash prizes – one for $200,00 for first place and $100,000 for second –  will be awarded in February 2016. Officials hope the prize offering will encourage the public and private sector to develop such a technology. The biosensor would help advance the mission of the NIAAA in research, treatment and rehabilitation from alcohol abuse.

The submission deadline for the contest is December 1. For more information, visit: The competition contact is: M. Katherine Jung, Ph.D., Program Director, NIAAA Division of Metabolism and Health Effects:

Register Today for Free Substance Abuse Intervention Training

April 7th, 2015 by Kelli Donley No comments »

Mark Your Calendars! Advancing “Advancing Substance Use Disorder Interventions for Adolescents and Transition-Age Youth” is a series of free trainings for behavioral health providers and stakeholders who work with adolescents and transition-age youth, including probation, education and child welfare. These trainings will be held in Tucson, AZ on May 6th and 14th with follow-up booster session June 10th.


Skills-based and culturally competent workshops focused on adolescents and transition-age youth including:

  • This is Your Brain on Adolescence: Enhancing Skills and Knowledge with Adolescent Clients (May 6)
  • Trauma Informed Practice with Adolescent Clients (May 6)
  • Enhancing Youth’s Motivation for Service Engagement (May 14)
  • Motivational Interviewing (May 14)

Travel scholarships are available. Trainings are sponsored by the State Youth Treatment (SYT) grant, which is funded by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). The SYT grant promotes implementation of evidence-based practices and a data-driven approach to policy and workforce development in the field of substance use disorder treatment for adolescents and transition-age youth.

Please feel free to share this invitation with your colleagues.

For more information and to register, visit

Grants Awarded to Prevent Substance Abuse with Criminal-Justice Involved Kids

April 6th, 2015 by Kelli Donley No comments »

A partnership between ADHS and the Arizona Criminal Justice Commission (ACJC) has opened a door to better ensure the provision of appropriate substance abuse prevention services among a vulnerable population: Arizona’s youth involved in the juvenile justice system. Through funds provided by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), ADHS and ACJC worked together to award more than $600,000 in grants to various Arizona coalitions, government agencies, nonprofit organizations, and criminal justice agencies to implement evidence based programs and approaches.

The partnership includes projects that are designed to prevent and/or reduce substance abuse that are cost-effective, and result in increased public safety, proactively address substance abuse before its inception to thwart negative consequences related to safety, health, and academic achievement, and build collaborative relationships between public health and criminal justice organizations to better address substance abuse.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), approximately 77% of criminal justice-involved youth reported substance use in the past 6 months, and nearly half of male and female juvenile detainees had a substance use disorder (NIDA, 2014). NIDA reports that of the estimated 2.1 million juvenile arrests in 2008, approximately 10% were for drug abuse or underage drinking violations (NIDA, 2014).

Additionally, ADHS is further partnering with ACJC to provide resources to develop and implement an adult substance use prevalence survey. The goals of this effort include the filling of a data gap that currently exists relative to adult substance abuse, consumption patterns and consequences, and laying out an infrastructure to guide decisions about effective substance abuse prevention programs and strategies. The results of this statewide survey’s implementation will provide an evaluation to ensure Arizona’s efforts related to substance abuse prevention are effective, as well as highlight any unmet service needs amongt Arizonans.

Survey results will also highlight other areas of collaboration between agencies that will in turn provide a more united front against substance use and abuse in Arizona.


CDC Reports on Youth, Young Adult Suicide

April 2nd, 2015 by Kelli Donley No comments »

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released a report last week about people age 10-24 who died by suicide. Suicide is the second leading cause of death for this age group.

The most common methods for suicide among those aged 10-24 are: firearms, suffocation including hangings, and poisonings – including drug overdose. The report notes a significant increase of those who died by suffocation as a method – an increase of 6.7% for females and 2.2% for males.

In 2014,  there were 159 suicides among persons aged 10-24 in Arizona.

Read more about our plan to end suicide in Arizona here.

For more information about the CDC study, click here.

Alcohol Awareness Weekend: April 4-6

April 1st, 2015 by Kelli Donley No comments »

alcoholApril is Alcohol Awareness month, and this weekend specifically is dedicated to bringing attention to alcohol abuse. Did you know a standard drink contains about .6 ounces of pure alcohol? Examples include:

  • 12-ounces of Beer or Cooler
  • 8-ounces of Malt Liquor
  • 5-ounces of Wine
  • 5-ounces or “shot” of Distilled Spirits/Liquor (e.g., rum, gin, vodka, or whiskey).

These approximations vary by brand. While some think drinking beer or wine is safe, a 12-ounce beer or a 5-ounce glass of wine actually have the same amount of alcohol as a 1.5 ounce shot of liquor. Alcohol works to depress the central nervous system. It is quickly absorbed by the small intestine into the bloodstream and circulated to every organ.

Alcoholism is a serious public health issue. One study found substance abuse costs employers $81 billion annually in missed work and lower production. Alcohol is the most used addictive substance in the United States; one in every 12 adults has an alcohol dependency.

Do you have a problem with alcohol? Do you need help? Seek treatment today. Visit this site to find a substance abuse facility near you.

Read more about ADHS’s commitment to helping those with substance abuse here.


Bike to Work in April!

March 24th, 2015 by Kelli Donley No comments »

In support of April being bike to work month, ADHS staff is encouraging staff and community participation.

Exercise, such as cycling, has long shown to provide physical and behavioral health benefits.

Results of the studies continue to support a growing literature suggesting that exercise, physical activity and physical-activity interventions have beneficial effects across several physical and mental-health outcomes. Generally, participants engaging in regular physical activity display more desirable health outcomes across a variety of physical conditions. Similarly, participants in randomized clinical trials of physical-activity interventions show better health outcomes, including better general and health-related quality of life, better functional capacity and better mood states. Source.

For more information about signing up, visit Share the Ride. 

One Third of Arizona College Students Binge Drink

March 23rd, 2015 by Kelli Donley No comments »

college studentsBased on 2014 survey data collected by the Arizona Institutions of Higher Education (AZIHE) Network, 32.7% of Arizona college and university students report drinking 5 or more drinks in one sitting at least once in the past two weeks.

Additionally, 6.1% of Arizona college and university students reported illicit use of pain killers, 3.6% reported illicit use of sedatives, and 8.5% reported illicit use of stimulants in the past 12 months. Taking these data together, the AZIHE Network acknowledges that evidence-based strategies must be implemented on campuses to curb negative outcomes associated with high-risk alcohol use and illicit prescription drug use.

The University of Arizona was awarded SPF-PFS grant funds to foster collaboration between The University of Arizona (UA) in Tucson, Pima Community College (PCC) in Tucson and Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University (ERAU) in Prescott. The partnerships established among these three universities have allowed for the creation of alcohol and other drug (AOD) prevention strategic plans, sharing of resources, and trainings for campus professionals to establish evidence-based programs at each participating campus.

One major success of the grant so far was the inaugural Raising the Bar College Student Leadership Conference, held September 13th, 2014. Raising the Bar was attended by 38 students from across the state and featured educational sessions on marijuana, creating a social norms campaign, alcohol education, sexual violence prevention, and peer education.

The conference will be held annually moving forward, and it stands as a strong example of collaboration among colleges and universities in the state.

For more information, email:

Watch for Signs of Trauma

March 18th, 2015 by Kelli Donley No comments »

Mercy Maricopa Integrated Care has opened a dedicated crisis line for anyone experiencing trauma after the shootings in Mesa earlier today. The number is: 1-800-203-CARE (2273). Trauma may influence first responders, friends, family, and those not directly involved.

Common reactions to trauma may include:

  • Fear, anxiety or depression
  • Nausea, dizziness, changes in appetite or sleep patterns
  • Withdrawal from daily activities
  • Symptoms of avoidance, including staying away from places related to the trauma or feeling detached
  • Emotional outbursts or being easily startled
  • Mood shifts or confusion
  • Lack of concentration, not feeling like “yourself”

To ease these feelings, behavioral health officials recommend:

  • Understand that these reactions are normal, especially soon after the traumatic event
  • Keep up your usual routine
  • Be with other people. Don’t isolate yourself
  • Exercise, try to relax and be kind to yourself
  • Allow yourself to feel bad, but recognize that some things are beyond your control
  • Try to face your fears and try not to shy away from situations, people and places that may remind you of the trauma
  • Reach out to family, friends and your faith community for support. Talk about your feelings and what you’re experiencing
  • Seek trained help if you feel you need it by reaching out to a crisis line or mental health center

The crisis line is staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Additional information can be found here:

Read the Director’s Blog about Mercy Maricopa Integrated Care’s response here:

Flagstaff Youth Fight for Smoke-Free Parks

March 18th, 2015 by Kelli Donley No comments »

A group of Flagstaff youth are advocating for Flagstaff parks to be tobacco-free. The students, participating in Native American for Community Action (NACA) Native Youth Coalition, attend Flagstaff High School.

The group has volunteered picking up cigarette butts in Thorpe, Bushmaster and Wheeler parks – an experience that left them wanting bigger change. Working with community partners, the students are trying to pass city policy preventing the use of any tobacco product in city parks.

Fewer than 10 parks in Arizona are tobacco free, while it is estimated there are 1,000 nationally. The group met with city parks and recreation officials and hope to present to Flagstaff City Council.

Enforcement would not including policing or fines. Instead, the group would like to hand out information to park users, train park staff, and a change in signage. The Flagstaff Parks and Recreation officials reportedly are concerned how these changes will be funded.

The youth hope to change the public opinion about socialization and smoking – reminding those that if they can smell tobacco smoke, they are putting themselves at risk.

For more information about NACA, visit: