October is National Substance Abuse Prevention Month

In response to the growing need for Substance Abuse Education, President Obama proclaimed October National Substance Abuse Prevention Month in 2012. He called upon Americans to “engage in appropriate programs and activities to promote comprehensive substance abuse prevention efforts within their communities”.  This started a movement within the United States to raise awareness and increase prevention of issues related to substance abuse and mental health.  

In the following years, the Office of National Drug Control Policy has added to the campaign by working with families, communities, and organizations to raise awareness about the importance of substance abuse prevention.  According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), substance abuse prevention plays an essential role in addressing the potential risks of drug and alcohol abuse.  Addiction is known to be a family disease.  People with ongoing substance abuse issues don’t just hurt themselves.  They create a toxic environment that affects their friends, family members, and community.  In order to work to heal such a widespread issue, an effective substance abuse prevention program must be directed towards communities as a whole, not just at risk youths or addicted individuals.  

Mental Illness Awareness Week – October 6-12, 2019

An important addition to National Substance Abuse Prevention Month is the inclusion of the topic of Mental Health.  Many people who become dependent upon drugs and alcohol are also diagnosed with a co-occurring mental health disorder.  Substance abuse doesn’t happen in a vacuum.  People struggling with untreated or undiagnosed mental illnesses will often resort to drug and alcohol abuse in an attempt to mitigate the symptoms of their disorder.  These same people may not want to address the root causes of their addiction because professional psychiatric care is not available to them.  They may also trust others due to the stigma attached to mental illness.  

The first week of October (October 6-12, 2019) is National Mental Health Awareness Week.  The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) works to raise awareness of mental illness by combatting stigma, offering support, advocating for equal care, and educating Americans.  NAMI provides communities with tools and resources to educate the public about mental illness.  By addressing prevalent disorders like anxiety, depression, PTSD, trauma, and bipolar disorder in a public forum, Americans can become better informed on the issue of mental health.  A public that has been educated to the signs, symptoms, causes, and treatments of these mental health disorders can support each other through the healing process.  

National Depression Screening Day – October 10, 2019

National Depression Screening Day (NDSD) is held every year during Mental Illness Awareness Week.  This year’s theme is “Reach Out” which focuses on connecting people and finding support.  During this event, participants are encouraged to talk to a doctor or mental health professional or become an advocate for mental health awareness.  You can help support the campaign by using the hashtags #NDSD and #ReachOut.  During National Depression Screening Day, awareness events are held across the country.  These events provide participants with an optional depression screening test.  Thousands of colleges, community organizations, and military installations participate in NDSD every year.  You can find one of these event locations or take the online screening test at Help Yourself Help Others.  

Many people struggle with stress, sadness, and anxiety.  But they may not be aware that they are suffering from clinical depression. Their depression could even be contributing to other life issues such as eating disorders or addiction.

If you believe that you or a loved one could be suffering from depression contact D’Amore today.  

World Mental Health Day – October 10, 2019

World Mental Health Day is observed on October tenth every year. The purpose of this day is to raise awareness of mental health issues and to provide support for mental health programs.  Last year the focus of World Mental Health Day was “Young People and Mental Health in a Changing World”.  Their mission was to reach out to children and young adults about the need for education and treatment for issues of Mental Health.  The WHO believes that prevention begins with awareness of the early warning signs and symptoms of mental illness. They encouraged parents and teachers to help build the life skills of children and adolescents to help them cope with everyday challenges at home and school.  The WHO suggests that psychosocial support be provided in schools and other community settings.  They also support training for health workers to empower them to detect and manage mental health disorders. 

The World Health Organization (WHO) provides information and resources for community organizations, treatment providers, and educators to use for training, education, and prevention purposes.

National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day – October 26, 2019

National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day is observed every October. On these days, people with leftover prescription drugs can safely dispose of them.  These events create an excellent opportunity to educate the public about the potential for the abuse of prescription drugs.  A large percentage of juveniles who become dependent on prescription drugs begin their addiction with drugs that they find in their friends’ or relatives’ medicine cabinets.

In April of 2019, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) collected nine hundred thousand pounds of unused prescription medication.  Since the fall of 2010, efforts from National Prescription Drug Take-Back Days have resulted in the collection of 11 million pounds of prescription drugs.  If you have unused prescription drugs, you can use the Drug Enforcement Administration’s website to search for a collection site near you.  The DEA also provides handouts, posters, and materials for organizations or individuals who would like to promote this annual observance.

October is full of opportunities to raise awareness and discuss issues revolving around substance abuse and mental illness. If you or a loved one is searching for an addiction or mental health treatment center in Orange County, California, D’Amore is here for you.

Call (714) 375-1110 to get help at D’Amore Healthcare Today.

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