This week is National Prevention Week, a joint effort from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, also known as SAMHSA, and the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP). The staff at Addiction.com is lending our support to National Prevention Week’s “The Voices of One, the Power of All” effort by taking the Prevention Pledge on SAMHSA’s Facebook page. And you can, too: Taking the Prevention Pledge is a quick, simple way to help make a difference by raising awareness about behavioral health issues, including drug and alcohol abuse and mental health illnesses like depression, anxiety, ADHD and bipolar disorder.
How to Show Your Support
Log onto SAMHSA’s Prevention Pledge page on Facebook and add to the over 450 (and counting!) virtual pledge bricks” placed by people and organizations around the country who have vowed to be a positive influence on those around them and to take action to prevent substance abuse and promote mental health, among other items on the pledge. The Prevention Pledge reads in part: I know that prevention matters! I pledge to…
- Take action to prevent substance abuse.
- Take action to promote mental health.
- Seek help from a professional if I experience a health problem or a stressful situation that I don’t know how to handle.
- Take care of my personal health and well-being by prioritizing rest, a healthy diet, and physical exercise.
- Have open conversations with my kids about drugs and alcohol.
- Talk with a friend or loved one who is experiencing a difficult time.
- Act as a positive role model for others in my community.
- Spread the prevention message online by linking to National Prevention Week 2015 on my Facebook and Twitter pages, and/or on my blog or website.
Prevention efforts may seem rather simple, but they do work, and there’s research to show it. In communities with the Drug-Free Communities prevention programs, past-month use of alcohol, tobacco and marijuana were found to have dropped significantly among middle-school and alcohol and tobacco use dropped among high-school students (the exception among high-schoolers was marijuana use, which increased).
Prevention Awareness Is Key
An estimated 23.1 million people need help with substance use. And about 9.6 million people in the U.S. have a mental illness, according to SAMHSA, with 17.1 million kids either having or having had a psychiatric disorder, according to the Child Mind Institute.
SAMHSA reports that hundreds of communities across the country will hold events this week to educate the public about what they can do together and as individuals to help prevent and lessen the impact of behavioral health issues such as tobacco use, underage drinking, illicit drug use and suicide.
Besides supporting healthy lifestyles by taking the Prevention Pledge, you can also take part in or plan an educational event in your local school or town. Another easy way to spread the message about how important it is to prevent and recognize substance abuse and mental health issues is to watch and share the National Prevention Week 2015 video on YouTube – email a link to everyone in your address book to share the video this week, or post it on your Facebook page.
What’s more, the “I Choose” Project for 2015 is another opportunity: Take a picture of yourself holding a sign with a message about the healthy lifestyle choice(s) you’ve made and submit it NewMedia@samhsa.hhs.gov. Include your name, state, Zip code and your message. At Addiction.com, we choose to: Stop Searching and Start Recovering!
For more information about National Prevention Week as well as prevention efforts you can be a part of, visit http://www.samhsa.gov/prevention-week.