We are excited to announce a new national health observance that is just months away. SAMHSA’s National Prevention Week (NPW) 2012, to be held from May 20 to 26, 2012, will help bring communities together through local events and celebrations that focus on the prevention of substance use and abuse and the promotion of mental, emotional, and behavioral well-being. These local events will be part of a new national movement to raise awareness around these important behavioral health issues.
National Prevention Week supports the concept that effective prevention of mental and substance use disorders requires consistent action. It underscores the efforts outlined in SAMHSA’s Strategic Initiative #1 (Prevention of Substance Abuse and Mental Illness) and Strategic Initiative #8 (Public Awareness and Support) by raising awareness about the agency’s prevention and promotion efforts related to substance abuse and mental health, and by garnering public support through local events and nationwide participation. This observance is also aligned with the National Prevention, Health Promotion, and Public Health Council’s National Prevention Strategy, a comprehensive plan that will help increase the number of Americans who are healthy at every stage of life. In particular, National Prevention Week aligns with two priorities included in the National Prevention Strategy, Preventing Drug Abuse and Excessive Alcohol Use and Mental and Emotional Well-Being.
The National Prevention Week 2012 theme, We are the ones. How are you taking action?, asks individuals and communities to reflect on what they can do to prevent substance abuse and promote mental, emotional, and behavioral well-being. This theme highlights the fact that everyone can play a role in prevention by making changes – big or small – that promote a healthy lifestyle at home and in the community.
Each weekday of National Prevention Week 2012 will focus on a suggested behavioral health topic. Communities are encouraged to promote any of these themes in their events throughout the week.
- Monday, May 21 – Prevention of Underage Drinking
- Tuesday, May 22 – Prevention of Prescription Drug Abuse and Illicit Drug Use
- Wednesday, May 23 – Prevention of Alcohol Abuse
- Thursday, May 24 – Suicide Prevention
- Friday, May 25 – Promotion of Mental, Emotional and Behavioral Well-Being
The weekend will be flexible for communities to focus on a behavioral health topic of their choice. This offers community organizers the option to plan themed events that center on specific messages especially relevant to their community.
Everyone can get involved during National Prevention Week 2012! By visiting SAMHSA’s Facebook page and taking the “Prevention Pledge” visitors can commit to a healthy lifestyle free of substance abuse. There, they can also share their promise with friends, family, and loved ones, and join the discussion about National Prevention Week and community events occurring across the country.
More information about National Prevention Week is available through the National Prevention Week Web site. This Web site provides information on getting involved in this national observance, background information on National Prevention Week and its alignment with SAMHSA’s Strategic Initiatives, community and programmatic resources related to the five themes of National Prevention Week, and a printable version of the “Prevention Pledge” which visitors can print and share with others in their family or community.
We look forward to celebrating National Prevention Week 2012 with you!