2012 National Prevention Week
To help communities become more involved in preventing substance abuse and promoting mental, emotional, and behavioral well-being, SAMHSA celebrated its first National Prevention Week May 20-26, 2012. The observance's theme, "We are the ones. How are you taking action?" asked people to take steps to strengthen their communities.
"People demonstrated throughout the week that they can make a big difference through small actions," said Frances M. Harding, Director of SAMHSA's Center for Substance Abuse Prevention (CSAP). "Each of us can support our own well-being year-round by making healthy lifestyle decisions, volunteering, participating in community activities, or just being a friend to someone in need."
Organizations in 52 states and territories—identified through the National Prevention Network (which represents state and territorial substance abuse prevention offices)—hosted more than 65 SAMHSA-supported events to raise awareness about promoting mental health and preventing underage drinking, prescription drug abuse and illicit drug use, alcohol abuse, and suicide. Communities of all sizes participated in areas as diverse as Nome, AK; Shreveport, LA; New York, NY; Tahlequah, OK; Reno, NV; Portland, ME; and the Republic of the Marshall Islands. Communities held customized events, including town hall meetings, educational and health fairs, open houses, walks, bike rides, poster contests, and online campaigns.
National Prevention Week supports what science has shown: Effective prevention of mental illness and substance use requires consistent action from multiple stakeholders. The campaign is aligned with the National Prevention Strategy (www.healthcare.gov/prevention/nphpphc/strategy/report.html), emphasizing that "prevention should be woven into all aspects of our lives" and that everyone has a role in creating a healthier nation.
To learn more about National Prevention Week and to access a toolkit for planning events, go to www.samhsa.gov/preventionweek. Visit SAMHSA's Facebook page at www.facebook.com/samhsa to take a Prevention Pledge and commit to prevention in your own life.