National Prevention Week in Connecticut (May 9-15, 2021) Focuses on Year-Round Outreach, Education, and Public Awareness
The Connecticut Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services (DMHAS), in partnership with state and local organizations, and communities, celebrates National Prevention Week from May 9-15, 2021. Now in its 10th year, the effort is designed to build and expand outreach, education, and public awareness of—and action around—substance misuse and mental health.
“Connecticut’s participation in National Prevention Week takes on even greater importance this year, as we strive to create and sustain meaningful dialogue—and action—around substance misuse, mental health, suicide prevention, and the promotion of overall health and wellness,” said Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont. “People of all ages in every community in Connecticut are grappling with these issues, and this observance provides not only meaningful acknowledgement, but tools and information for individuals and families to use to prevent, mitigate, respond to, or recover from these challenges.”
National Prevention Week Daily Themes and Scheduled Activities in Connecticut
Monday, May 10: Preventing Prescription Drug and Opioid Misuse
The Change the Script* mobile resource van will disseminate prevention resources at the following naloxone training events in Bristol:
- Agape House, 43 School Street, from 9:30 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.
- Rockwell Park, 238 Jacob Street, from 11 a.m. – 12 p.m.
- Seymour Park, 261 Shrub Road, from 1 p.m. – 2 p.m.
- Beacon Pharmacy, 57 South Street, from 2:30 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.
- Brackett Park, 27 North Main Street, from 3:45 p.m. – 4:45 p.m.
Tuesday, May 11: Preventing Underage Drinking and Alcohol Misuse
The Change the Script mobile resource van will disseminate prevention resources at the following locations in Litchfield County:
- Kent Town Hall, 41 Kent Green Boulevard, from 10 a.m. – 11 a.m.
- Goshen Town Hall, 42 North Street, from 11:30 a.m. – 1 p.m.
- Litchfield Community Field, 58 North Lake Street, from 1:30 p.m. – 3 p.m.
Wednesday, May 12: Preventing Illicit Drug Use and Youth Marijuana Use
The Change the Script mobile resource van will disseminate prevention resources at the following locations:
Greenwich Senior Center, 299 Greenwich Avenue, from 11 a.m. – 1 p.m.
Fairfield CARES NPW, Sherman Green, Reef Road, from 3 p.m. – 5 p.m.
Thursday, May 13: Preventing Youth Tobacco Use (E-Cigarettes and Vaping)
- The Change the Script mobile resource van will disseminate prevention resources at the North Haven Recreational Center COVID Vaccine Clinic, 7 Lindsey Road, from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.
- The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and the Connecticut Suicide Advisory Board will present an online statewide read-aloud of Gizmo’s Pawesome Guide to Mental Health from 7 p.m. to 7:45 p.m. For information, contact Michelle Peters, MPeters@AFSP.org. Related details and resources can be found at www.gizmo4mentalhealth.org.
- Wheeler’s Connecticut Clearinghouse will host a virtual forum, “CT Drug Trends: Bridging the Gap Between Public Health and Public Safety,” from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m.
Friday, May 14: Preventing Suicide
- The Change the Script mobile resource van will disseminate prevention resources at the Windsor Locks Town Hall COVID Vaccination Clinic (run by The North Central Health District Health Department), 41 Oak Street, from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
In addition, three Connecticut Prevention Week subcommittees, comprising individuals and organizations from across the state, also are actively engaged in several local initiatives starting in May and continuing throughout the year.
The Library Subcommittee is raising awareness of the contribution of libraries to the dialogue and success of prevention efforts and reaching members of the community. The committee is encouraging Local Prevention Councils and community coalitions dedicated to substance use prevention and mental health promotion to collaborate with local libraries, which includes helping libraries expand their prevention resources and for libraries to get to know their local coalitions better and the activities they sponsor. A book list for teens and parents also has been developed, as well as substance misuse and suicide prevention resources for parents, teens, families, and the community.
The Mascot Subcommittee developed a blue starfish mascot for use during Connecticut’s Prevention Week celebration and throughout the year. The starfish mascot was created to communicate the many aspects of prevention and the importance of outreach. A mascot naming contest is underway. Naming suggestions will be collected from now until the end of National Prevention Week, and top contenders will be voted on by a statewide committee.
The Media Subcommittee, in collaboration with prevention professionals and leaders across the state, produced a public service announcement (PSA) for website and social media dissemination. The PSA emphasizes the need for Connecticut to take a collective approach to prevention, now and moving forward.
National Prevention Week
National Prevention Week (NPW) is an annual health observance dedicated to increasing public awareness of, and action around, mental health and/or substance use disorders. Communities make prevention happen every day – not just during NPW – and NPW is the perfect time to promote and celebrate prevention activities and resources in our communities.
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.
NPW in Connecticut is coordinated by a Planning Committee that is led by Wheeler’s Connecticut Clearinghouse and includes: the Connecticut Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services (DMHAS), the Connecticut Department of Public Health (DPH), The Governor’s Prevention Partnership (GPP), the Prevention Training and Technical Assistance Service Center (TTASC), Regional Behavioral Health Action Organizations (RBHAOs), and Local Prevention Councils and other coalitions serving Connecticut communities.
Connecticut Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services
The Connecticut Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services is a health care agency whose mission is to promote the overall health and wellness of persons with behavioral health needs through an integrated network of holistic, comprehensive, effective, and efficient services and supports that foster dignity, respect, and self-sufficiency in those we serve. While the Department's prevention services serve all Connecticut citizens, its mandate is to serve adults (over 18 years of age) with psychiatric or substance use disorders, or both, who lack the financial means to obtain such services on their own. Visit the DMHAS website at www.ct.gov/dmhas.
Connecticut Clearinghouse is a statewide library and resource center for information on substance use and mental health disorders, prevention and health promotion, treatment and recovery, wellness, and other related topics. Materials from its specialized library and resource center are available to Connecticut families, teachers, students, professionals, communities, and children. A program of Wheeler’s Connecticut Center for Prevention, Wellness and Recovery, Connecticut Clearinghouse is funded by the Connecticut Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services. Learn more: www.ctclearinghouse.org.
*Change the Script Mobile Resource Van
The Change the Script mobile resource van is an element of the statewide opioid prevention campaign managed by Wheeler's Connecticut Clearinghouse and funded by DMHAS. The van includes materials on opioid and other drug prevention, treatment, and recovery resources, as well as a broad range of other mental health and wellness resources.