SAMHSA’s fifth annual National Prevention Week, happening May 15-21, 2016, is dedicated to increasing public awareness and prevention of mental and/or substance use disorders.
During National Prevention Week, community organizations across the country host health fairs, educational assemblies, town hall meetings, memorial walks, social media campaigns, outdoor events, and more. This year’s theme—Strong as One, Stronger Together—recognizes that one person can make a positive difference in their community, but when we all unite together we can achieve even more.
Who supports National Prevention Week?
In addition to Federal and national partners such as the Office of National Drug Control Policy, the Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America, the American Public Health Association, the National Parent-Teacher Association, and Tobacco-Free Kids. SAMHSA is pleased to announce that Torrey DeVitto, who stars as an ER pediatrician in the NBC drama “Chicago Med,” serves as this year’s National Prevention Week Ambassador. Watch her in the National Prevention Week promotional video.
Purpose of National Prevention Week
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
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. According to SAMHSA's National Survey on Drug Use and Health (2004), 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.
How can I get involved?
- Sign up for and watch the kick-off webcast for National Prevention Week 2016, which will be held in partnership with Morgan State University.
- Listen to the National Prevention Week Theme song “Stronger Together,” written by Rock and Roll Hall of Famer, singer, and guitarist Lou Esposito.
- Incorporate the song into your prevention efforts this year. Share it on social media using #StrongerTogether, or record your own video version of the song. Be creative!
- Join our webinar, Preventing Youth Marijuana Use: Changing Perception of Risk, on Thursday May 19, 2016 from 2-3PM Eastern Time, which will explore how attitudes, beliefs, and norms about marijuana influence its use, highlighting examples of how states have increased perception of risk among young people.
- Participate in SAMHSA’s #NPW2016 Twitter Chat focusing on the prevention of suicide on Friday, May 20, from 1-2PM Eastern time, featuring Torrey DeVitto.
- Add the power of your voice to SAMHSA's "I Choose" photo project. People of all ages are already participating, and their "I Choose" photos will inspire you.
Please visit the NPW website for more materials and information about National Prevention Week. Get involved, let your voice be heard, and #ChoosePrevention.