May 8-14 is National Prevention Week, an annual observance sponsored by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) dedicated to increasing public awareness and action around substance use prevention and promoting positive mental wellbeing. In the past year, 7.74% of adults in America reported having a substance use disorder, and with so many people needing support, we’ve gathered the following resources to help you help others who may be experiencing a substance use challenge.
- • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 800-273-TALK (800-273-8255). Despite the name, this crisis hotline helps with more than suicide. Callers may feel sad, hopeless or suicidal; they may be family and friends who are concerned about a loved one; or they may be looking for a referral to mental health treatment. They’ll be connected with a nearby professional who will talk with them about what they are feeling or their concerns for other family and friends. Call the toll-free lifeline, 24 hours/day, seven days/week. There’s also a chat function if you prefer to talk online.
- • Crisis Text Line: Text “MHFA” to 741-741. Available 24/7, 365 days a year, this organization helps people with mental health challenges by connecting callers with trained crisis volunteers who will provide confidential advice, support and referrals if needed. Also available on WhatsApp.
- • The Trevor Project: Text “Start” to 678-678, call 866-488-7386 or chat at TheTrevorProject.org. Trained counselors are available 24/7 to support people under 25 who are in crisis, feeling suicidal or in need of a safe and judgment free place to talk. The Trevor Project specializes in supporting the LGBTQI+ community.
- • SAMHSA’s Find Treatment site includes information and direct links for people who need help — from an Opioid Treatment Program Directory to Substance Use and Behavioral Health treatment locators and the Veterans’ crisis line.
- • Smokefree.gov, created by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), provides ideas about all stages of stopping tobacco use – from how to start quitting to how to “stay quit.” The site includes downloadable resources and contacts for online and phone counseling.
- • Recovered.org features information for those struggling with addiction, people who want to know more about substance use disorders and those looking to learn about treatment options for addiction.
- • Start Your Recovery works with leading experts in effectively treating substance use issues to offer people a single source for relatable, reliable information at any stage of their recovery journey. The site can be tailored to provide information for yourself or a loved one.
- • Narcotics Anonymous and Nar-Anon Family Groups include databases of local and virtual meetings where those experiencing a substance use challenge and their loved ones can connect with others to find support.
- • The Breath of Stress Air campaign from Truth offers information on the connection between vaping and mental wellbeing.
National Council for Mental Wellbeing Resources
- • Check out the National Council for Mental Wellbeing’s Getting Candid toolkit for resources to have effective substance use prevention conversations with youth. It covers the information young people want and need as well as how to deliver crucial messages in the most impactful way, including “do’s and don’ts” for communicating with teens.
- • To advance innovative approaches to prevent and reduce youth substance use and promote long-lasting health and wellbeing, the National Council and The Conrad N. Hilton Foundation has created this list of resources.
- • Take a look at the National Council’s president and CEO Chuck Ingoglia’s latest blog post about the most effective prevention messages and approaches and why they work.
Mental Health First Aid blogs
Social Media and Mobile Resources
Having the right information and tools on hand can prepare you so if you or someone you know faces a substance use challenge, you can take care of yourself, offer appropriate support and get additional help when needed. This National Prevention Week, we can all #BeTheDifference for ourselves and each other by checking in with loved ones and peers and staying informed with valuable resources.
Mental Health America (2022). Prevalence of Mental Illness 2022. Mental Health America. https://www.mhanational.org/issues/2022/mental-health-america-prevalence-data#:~:text=Adult%20with%20Substance%20Use%20Disorder%202022%20