National Prevention Week is a SAMHSA-supported annual health observance dedicated to increasing public awareness of, and action around, substance abuse and mental health issues. National Prevention Week is held each year during the third week of May, near the start of summer. Summer is a season filled with celebrations and recreational activities where substance use and abuse can happen, such as graduation parties, proms, weddings, sporting events, and outdoor activities. National Prevention Week is timed to allow schools to take part in a prevention-themed event before the school year ends, raising awareness in students of all ages. The percentages of marijuana, cigarette, and alcohol initiates among youth increase between spring (April and May) and summer (June and July), and the timing of National Prevention Week helps to educate young people and their families at this crucial time of year.
There are three primary goals of National Prevention Week:
- To involve communities in raising awareness of behavioral health issues and in implementing prevention strategies;
- To foster partnerships and collaboration with federal agencies and national organizations dedicated to behavioral and public health;
- To promote and disseminate quality behavioral health resources and publications.
During National Prevention Week, community organizations across the country host health fairs, block parties, educational assemblies, town hall meetings, memorial walks, social media campaigns, outdoor events, and more. Thousands of people across the United States and in U.S. territories attend these events and help raise awareness about the importance of preventing substance use and mental disorders.