When is the last time you put on a seatbelt? Applied sunscreen? Took a Vitamin C tablet?
Did you talk about these behaviors? For example, did you recommend your sunscreen brand to your best friend? Or pick up an extra bottle of Vitamin C for a coworker? Even if you didn’t, chances are you wouldn’t mind doing so. These are just normal prevention practices that we don’t think twice about discussing, or modeling for our friends and families.
It’s just as important to do the same around substance abuse and mental health issues. And here’s your chance.
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA) National Prevention Week (NPW) is an annual observance dedicated to increasing public awareness of, and action around, substance abuse and mental health issues.
The theme for NPW 2017 is “Making Each Day Count.” From May 14 to May 20, organizations, communities, and individuals will host NPW health fairs, block parties, educational assemblies, town hall meetings, memorial walks, social media campaigns, outdoor events and more around these daily themes:
- Monday, May 15: Prevention of Youth Tobacco Use
- Tuesday, May 16: Prevention of Underage Drinking & Alcohol Misuse
- Wednesday, May 17: Prevention of Prescription & Opioid Drug Misuse
- Thursday, May 18: Prevention of Illicit Drug Use & Youth Marijuana Use
- Friday, May 19: Prevention of Suicide
- Saturday, May 20: Promotion of Mental Health & Wellness
As communication professionals, we know the power of getting an issue out into the open. Asking questions, engaging others and normalizing the discussion of these issues makes it easier for people to open up about their experiences and consider how they can contribute to prevention efforts. NPW gives us an opportunity to talk about what we can all do to prevent substance abuse and promote positive mental health and wellness.
Prevention is powerful. Just like wearing your seatbelt creates a safe space, efforts focused on substance abuse prevention and promotion of positive mental health work.
Benjamin Franklin said, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” I wonder what a pound of prevention could do?
Want to get involved in SAMHSA’s NPW activities? There are many opportunities:
- Monday, May 15: Kickoff event and live webcast at 11 a.m. EDT
- Tuesday, May 16: Releasing College Drinking: Prevention Perspectives video
- Wednesday, May 17: Webinar, Opioid Addiction and Prevention at 1:30 p.m. EDT
- All of the events and materials are available online.
We want to hear how you’re participating in NPW 2017! Be sure to use the hashtag #PreventionPower to tell us what you’re doing throughout the week.