National Prevention Week

Friday, May 7, 2021


2021 marks the tenth anniversary of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration’s (SAMHA) annual National Prevention Week. During the week of May 9-15, communities and organizations across ​the country will come together to raise awareness about the importance of substance use disorder prevention and mental health promotion.

Why prevention and promotion?

Substance use disorder prevention and mental health promotion is focused on creating a healthy environment for youth and families through community change and supports. Prevention and promotion centers on decreasing risk factors such as family conflict, lack of commitment to school, and access to drugs and alcohol, while increasing protective factors like connections to community, learning refusal skills and academic support. Building healthy environments that promote health and wellness is vital to our mental wellbeing and prevent both substance use and mental health disorders.

How does HCA support prevention and promotion?

HCA prevention works to build the health and wellness of individuals, families, and communities by increasing factors that help increase their mental wellness and decreasing factors that put them at risk. Individuals who are mentally healthy have less risk of developing a mental disorder and/or substance use disorder related to alcohol, tobacco, and other substances. HCA provides funding, technical assistance, and training to Tribes and local communities.

Tribal communities implement programs that are specific to each tribe’s needs, culture, and traditions. Tribes develop prevention programs, or select evidence-based programs, based on key prevention research in order to best serve their members and surrounding community members. Most tribes use funding for prevention services for community-wide and direct service programs.

Community-based organizations, school districts, and local public entities receive grants to implement needed direct service prevention and promotion programs in their local, regional or statewide areas.

HCA also funds the Community Prevention and Wellness Initiative (CPWI). CPWI is a community-led effort to prevent youth from using alcohol and other substances. As part of CPWI, the Student Assistance Prevention and Intervention Services Program (SAPISP) places intervention specialists in schools to provide support to youth through prevention education in classrooms and for school-wide activities, screening and early intervention services and referrals to treatment when needed. Backed by science, CPWI allows communities to work together to create healthy environments. The CPWI program is currently in over eighty high-need communities across the state. The CPWI model has proven success with significantly less substance use reported in youth since the program started in 2011.

Good news

HCA’s prevention programs work. HCA distributes a Healthy Youth Survey every two years. The survey allows the agency to track the effectiveness of prevention efforts. Survey data shows statistically significant decreases in marijuana use, tobacco use, and binge drinking.

Learn more about the Community Prevention and Wellness Initiative.

Want to get involved? Find a community coalition near you.

Learn more about National Prevention Week from SAMHSA’s fact sheet or website.