National Prevention Week
Every year, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) leads the nation in observing National Prevention Week. And this year is no exception. It is however exceptional. Why? Because more and more communities and organizations across the country are coming together to raise awareness about the importance of substance use prevention and mental health promotion.
About National Prevention Week
SAMHSA’s National Prevention Week is an annual health observance dedicated to increasing public awareness of, and action around, mental health and/or substance use disorders. It also serves to promote and celebrate a year’s worth of community prevention efforts, as well as to get news, ideas, and resources that strengthen daily, weekly, and monthly prevention activities.
SAMHSA originally chose the third week of May because it’s near the start of summer. This of course is an important time for school, communities, and prevention professionals to re-focus on addiction prevention. It’s especially important considering adolescents and full-time college students most often use substances for the first time during June or July.
The timing also provides schools and organizations the opportunity to host prevention-themed events and activities before the school year ends. To helps spur those efforts SAMHSA provides everything from a Planning Toolkit to Promotional Materials. It even hosts a National Prevention Week webinar series for those who are working on the front lines of addiction prevention. SAMHSA also hosts a social media-driven Prevention Challenge.
SAMHSA says the primary purpose of National Prevention Week is to:
National Prevention Week aims to touch every part of our country. And it’s succeeding too. In fact, it’s succeeding spectacularly.
National Prevention Week Themes
This year’s main theme is “Action Today. Healthier Tomorrow.” But there are also daily themes that each focus on major substance use and mental health topics.
The daily themes for 2019 are:
Watch SAMHSA’s National Prevention Week kick-off video to learn more:
National Prevention Week Partners
SAMHSA’s list of prestigious National Prevention Week partners runs from the Boys & Girls Clubs of America to the National PTA. NPW partners also include Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD), the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) and the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). There are a few lesser known but no less important organizations that deserve to be singled out too. They are:
ACT Missouri: a statewide substance abuse prevention catalyst that promotes safe, healthy, and drug-free communities.
Drug Free Duval: a Jacksonville, Florida-based substance abuse prevention community coalition whose mission is freedom from substance abuse for all.
EMPOWERR Program: seeks to reduce the risk of HIV/AIDS, sexually transmitted diseases, teen pregnancy, and substance use among minority teens and young adults residing in the Charleston, South Carolina area.
JED Foundation: a nonprofit organization that protects the emotional health of and prevents suicide among our nation’s teens and young adults.
Mary’s Center: a community health center that provides health care, education, and social services to more than 50,000 individuals from more than 50 countries through eight locations in Washington, D.C., and Maryland.
Minnesota Regional Prevention Coordinators: provides locally accessible and customized addiction prevention services across the North Star State.
National Association for Children of Addiction: works on behalf of children living with parental addiction.
Saving Others for Archie: a grassroots organization founded by a mother whose son Archie died of an accidental overdose.
Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD): empowers young people with tools and resources needed to confront the risks and pressures of substance abuse, impaired and distracted driving, mental health issues and more.
Tradition Not Addiction: a grassroots tribal youth organization that is driven to reduce underage drinking and prescription drug abuse.
Heralding National Prevention Week
We at Healing Properties would like to herald SAMHSA (as always), as well as the many local, state and federal organizations and agencies that are taking part in National Prevention Week. There can never be enough education — or action, especially when it comes to young people and addiction. And we wholeheartedly support any and all efforts that might help prevent addiction for young Americans.
We’re also encouraged to note that National Prevention Week doesn’t ignore addiction treatment. Addiction prevention isn’t always possible. But addiction treatment is. So is recovery. And we join SAMHSA and its many partners in encouraging anyone with a substance abuse problem to seek help at once. There’s no shame in falling afoul of drugs or alcohol. And there’s no shame in seeking help either. The more people know that, the better off everyone will be.