National Prevention Week is an annual health observance dedicated to increasing public awareness of substance abuse and mental health issues.
Sponsored by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), the campaign brings individuals, organizations, coalitions, and communities together to educate the public about the importance of preventing substance abuse and mental disorders before they occur.
National Prevention Week takes place May 17-23, 2015. Near the start of summer, this is an ideal time for communities to come together and rally around prevention. 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 SA helps to educate young people and their families at this crucial time of year.
NCADD urges community organizations to host health fairs, block parties, educational assemblies, town hall meetings, memorial walks, social media campaigns, outdoor events, and more. These community events provide an opportunity to raise awareness about the importance of preventing substance use and mental disorders, provide a forum for community members to educate the public on these topics, and increase collaboration and resource dissemination.
Six of the seven days during National Prevention Week have a suggested health topic that communities can use to guide the focus of community events:
- Prevention of Tobacco Use (Monday, May 18)
- Prevention of Underage Drinking and Alcohol Abuse (Tuesday, May 19)
- Prevention of Opioid & Prescription Drug Abuse (Wednesday, May 20)
- Prevention of Illicit Drug Use & Youth Marijuana Use (Thursday, May 21)
- Prevention of Suicide (Friday, May 22)
- Promotion of Mental Health & Wellness (Saturday, May 23)
To learn more, visit the National Prevention Week website at www.samhsa.gov/prevention-week. The website includes promotional materials, event planning tips, and tools.