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  • National Prevention Week | Substance Use Prevention & Mental Health Awareness

    National Prevention Week | Substance Use Prevention & Mental Health Awareness

    In the United States, about 20.3 million adults have substance use disorder (SUD). Of these individuals, 37.9% have at least one other mental health disorder.

    To raise awareness of SUD and other mental health issues, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) holds National Prevention Week every year. In 2023, SAMHSA has refreshed and rebranded the week as “A Celebration of Possibility.”

    What Is National Prevention Week?

    National Prevention Week (NPW) is an annual health observance that aims to prevent substance misuse and promote positive mental health. It has three main goals:

    • 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
    • promote and disseminate quality substance use prevention and mental health promotion resources and publications

    NPW always occurs in May. That’s because, according to SAMHSA, adolescents and college students are most likely to use substances for the first time in June or July. 

    By hosting prevention-themed events and activities in May, schools and other organizations can significantly reduce drug abuse among young people.

    Themes Of NPW 2023

    In 2023, NPW will occur from May 7th through May 13th.

    Although previous years followed an important subject each day of the week, this year’s theme is “A New Approach.”

    This new approach allows community members and leaders to base the discussion and prevention resources around the needs of their own communities.

    How To Participate In National Prevention Week

    Like every NPW, there are two main ways to participate:

    Host A Community Event

    Any individual or organization can spread the positive messages of NPW by hosting a community event, such as a health fair, memorial walk, social media campaign, town hall meeting, or block party. 

    Each of these events can increase public awareness of SUD and other mental health concerns. They can also teach your community-specific strategies for preventing drug abuse and promoting positive mental health.

    Many community events focus on specific topics, such as:

    To get started on your event, check out the NPW Planning Toolkit. You can also tell SAMHSA about your event so they can help promote it. 

    Share Stories & Learn

    Anyone looking to get involved in NPW 2023 can share their own personal stories related to substance abuse, addiction, and mental health challenges.

    SAMHSA encourages participants to use the hashtags #NationalPreventionWeek23 and #MyPreventionStory.

    You can also take part in the week by expanding your knowledge about SAMHSA-supported initiatives, drug and alcohol use prevention efforts, local events, and other success stories.

    To learn more about NPW 2023, visit the NPW website

    Written by Ark Behavioral Health Editorial Team
    ©2024 Ark National Holdings, LLC. | All Rights Reserved.
    This page does not provide medical advice.

    National Institute on Drug Abuse - Comorbidity: Substance Use and Other Mental Disorders
    Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration - National Prevention Week

    Medically Reviewed by
    Kimberly Langdon M.D.
    on April 25, 2023
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