Purpose of National Prevention Week
The three primary goals of National Prevention Week are to:
- Involve communities in raising awareness of substance use and mental health issues and in implementing prevention strategies, and showcasing effectiveness of evidence-based prevention programs;
- Foster partnerships and collaborations with federal agencies and national organizations dedicated to improving public health; and
- Promote and disseminate quality substance use prevention and mental health promotion resources and publications.
Each year, National Prevention Week includes daily themes to focus on major substance use and mental health topics. The 2022 daily themes are:
Monday, May 9: Strengthening Community Resilience: Substance Misuse and Overdose Prevention
Tuesday, May 10: Preventing Substance Use and Promoting Mental Health in Youth
Wednesday, May 11: Preventing Suicide: Everyone Plays a Role
Thursday, May 12: The Talent Pipeline: Enhancing the Prevention Workforce
Friday, May 13: Prevention is Everywhere: Highlighting Efforts Across Settings and Communities
Saturday, May 14: Celebrating Prevention Heroes
Why Does National Prevention Week Occur in May?
National Prevention Week (NPW) is held each year during May. Originally, SAMHSA chose this timing because it is near the start of summer, an important time for school, communities, and prevention professionals to re-focus on prevention. Adolescents and full-time college students most often use substances for the first time during June or July, according to SAMHSA's National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) data on adolescents – 2012 (PDF | 704 KB) and NSDUH data on full-time college students – 2015 (PDF | 1.2 MB).
As national participation in NPW has increased over the years, this week now serves as a week-long observance created by SAMHSA to celebrate prevention efforts in organizations and communities across the nation, and across all ages. We know communities make prevention happen every day – not just during NPW – and NPW is the perfect time to promote and celebrate a year’s worth of prevention efforts, as well as get news, ideas, and resources to strengthen daily, weekly, and monthly prevention activities.
Plus, the timing of National Prevention Week still provides a timely opportunity for schools and organizations to host prevention-themed events and activities before the school year ends, raising awareness about this important issue among students and their families. These are key periods of social transitions, a risk factor for youth substance use, and an opportunity to develop or strengthen the community, school, and family bonds that protect young people from substance use and strengthen community health overall. More information can be found in The Surgeon General’s Report on Alcohol, Drugs, and Health.