National Prevention Week is an annual health observance dedicated to increasing public awareness of, and action around, mental health and/or substance use disorders.
Purpose of National Prevention Week
The three primary goals of National Prevention Week are to:
- Involve communities in raising awareness about behavioral health issues and implementing prevention strategies;
- Foster partnerships and collaboration with federal agencies and national organizations dedicated to behavioral and public health; and
- Promote and disseminate quality behavioral health resources and publications.
Why Does National Prevention Week Occur in May?
National Prevention Week is held each year during the third week of May—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). The timing of National Prevention Week provides an opportunity for schools and organizations to host prevention-themed events 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. More information can be found in The Surgeon General’s Report on Alcohol, Drugs, and Health.