By: ATSI Admin
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SAMHSA’s National Prevention Week, Coming Soon!
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) is once again planning events for its National Prevention Week (NPW) to be held between May 18-24, 2014. NPW is an annual health observance dedicated to increasing public awareness of, and action around, substance abuse and mental health issues. NPW is held in the spring, before young people especially are faced with more pressure to abuse substances come summer.
National Prevention Week is a time set aside each and every year to:
- Increase the visibility of behavioral health and the benefits of prevention.
- Provide a forum to educate the public.
- Create opportunities for networking and collaboration.
Working Together for Prevention
Organizations across the country are encouraged to take part in local activities and schedule their own events. By teaming up, we can collectively and effectively create awareness surrounding drug and alcohol use and related disorders. SAMHSA, one of the largest organizations promoting education and prevention, uses NPW to increase the exposure for smaller organizations, too.
SAMHSA encourages organizations to plan their NPW event as soon as possible. The website makes it easy for anyone interested to organize their own event, and share ideas and examples of successful events of the past. SAMHSA also encourages individuals to get involved through local activities or via the “I Choose” project, which allows teens and adults alike to pledge to be healthy and responsible.
Our Lives. Our Health. Our Future.
The theme for this year’s National Prevention Week is “Our Lives. Our Health. Our Future.” Events can be registered on the SAMHSA website, and those interested in participating in an event can search for activities scheduled for their area. Common types of events include health fairs, block parties, social media campaigns, walkathons and community meetings. Other organizations take prevention to schools, where students are encouraged to take the SAMHSA pledge.
Frances M. Harding, Director of SAMHSA, states the need for education and prevention events like NPW: “The National Survey on Drug Use and Health estimated that 23.9 million people aged 12 or older, or 9.2 percent of this age group, used illicit drugs in the past month. Last year, communities across the United States held hundreds of prevention-themed events with thousands of participants to raise awareness of behavioral health, change lives, and improve the health of their community members.”
To learn more about NPW activities or to schedule your own event, visit the SAMHSA website.