National Prevention Week 2018 in the Granite State
National Prevention Week is rapidly approaching. Although paramount year-round, May 13 to 19 is the week Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) has chosen to observe the importance of substance abuse prevention and positive mental health promotion. Communities, organizations, and even individuals can take part.
Last year, in Raymond, NH, the Raymond Coalition for Youth provide information and resources and held many events across the Granite State. They have a robust site at http://www.rcfy.org/home.
In advance of prevention week this year, the Dover Coalition for Youth penned a letter to the editor that hits home. (LINK: http://www.fosters.com/news/20180405/to-editor-we-all-play-part-in-preventing-underage-drinking)
Vicki Hebert, Coalition Coordinator, Dover Police Department, says "Research tells us that teenagers who say they've learned a lot about the risks of alcohol from their parents are much less likely to drink than those who say they've learned nothing. Talk about the consequences of underage drinking, including the fact that a teen's brain is not fully developed; meaning that alcohol has a greater effect and causes more harm." All of this provides a needed signal boost to prevention.
While there are daily themes, please know that you don't need to adhere to them. They are:
- Monday, May 14 Promotion of Mental Health & Wellness
- Tuesday, May 15 Prevention of Underage Drinking & Alcohol Misuse
- Wednesday, May 16 Prevention of Prescription & Opioid Drug Misuse
- Thursday, May 17 Prevention of Illicit Drug Use & Youth Marijuana Use
- Friday, May 18 Prevention of Suicide
- Saturday, May 19 Prevention of Youth Tobacco Use
If time is at a premium, perhaps focus on the problem that you're most passionate about. Or, focus on the issue that you feel is most problematic in your community.
So, now that you have your theme, now what?
In 2017 in Falmouth, Mass., middle-schoolers painted a mural that represented prevention. Are you an art teacher? Does this sound like something that would benefit your students? Are you a parent, or even a student? Representing your thoughts on prevention through artwork is a strong and creative way to help get the message across.
Galen College of Nursing in Louisville, KY, got the word on National Prevention Week out last year through social media. Plus, they handed out flyers across their campus to help start conversations about the need for prevention. All ages can use social media as a tool to help get the prevention message out using the amazing reach of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and even Snapchat. HINT: @samhsagov, the Twitter account for Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration is using #NPW2018. They have 80.2K followers. Imagine if your posts are retweeted. Head here (LINK: https://www.samhsa.gov/prevention-week/toolkit) for a tool kit full of facts and inspiration for your posts.
Other ideas to participate in National Prevention Week?
- Hold or participate in a fun run with prevention as a theme
- Write a letter to the editor, or ask how you or your youth group could be active in the newspaper or town or state public television or radio during National Prevention Week.
Or, simply host a coffee hour at your house to discuss ways to reinforce that positive mental health and preventing substance abuse are priorities, and often they go hand in hand. No step during National Prevention Week is too small. Each adds up.