A note from Mr. William H. Bentley, Associate Commissioner, Family and Youth Services Bureau, and Frances M. Harding, Director at Center for Substance Abuse Prevention:
This week is National Prevention Week, a time for all of us to focus on behavioral health, the essential role it plays in the overall health of young people and their families, and its importance to our productivity and prosperity as a nation. The Administration for Children and Families’ Family and Youth Services Bureau is a partner with the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration in supporting National Prevention Week. During this week, and throughout the year, we encourage you to bring awareness of the behavioral health issues that may be experienced by the children, youth, and families you work with every day.
The daily health themes of National Prevention Week cover many behavioral health issues, including: tobacco use, underage drinking, excessive alcohol use, opioid and prescription drug misuse, illicit drug use and youth marijuana use, and suicide. By increasing awareness and educating others about these issues, we will make great strides in overcoming the challenges of youth homelessness, adolescent pregnancy, and domestic violence, and help our nation’s young people and their families lead healthy, productive, and violence-free lives.
In honor of National Prevention Week, community organizations in every U.S. state and many U.S. territories are hosting events (http://www.samhsa.gov/prevention-week/community-events) to inform the public about the risks associated with substance use and misuse and ways to promote personal health. State and federal agencies and national organizations are sharing information about actions communities can take to prevent mental or substance use disorders.
I invite you to join us in recognizing National Prevention Week by taking the Prevention Pledge (https://www.facebook.com/samhsa/app_227679917356169) and encouraging the youth and families you work with to do the same. In taking the Pledge, we demonstrate to others that we care and are actively working to advance behavioral health. I also invite you to take a photo of how you maintain a healthy lifestyle and what inspires you to choose prevention. Share your photos via Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram using the hashtag #ChoosePrevention (https://twitter.com/search?q=%23ChoosePrevention) to inspire others. Thank you for your commitment to National Prevention Week and the health and well-being of our young people and their families.
William H. Bentley
Family and Youth Services Bureau
Frances M. Harding
Center for Substance Abuse Prevention