What is Prevention?
October is Substance Misuse and Youth Substance Use Prevention Month. This signifies the importance of communities coming together to work on prevention, but what is prevention? The Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services (OhioMHAS) defines prevention as “promoting the health and safety of individuals and communities by focusing on preventing or delaying the onset of behavioral health problems.” Prevention efforts can be focused on many different areas including substance misuse, suicide, and problem gambling. Wayne County Coalitions focus many of their efforts on preventing youth substance use, and they do that by implementing several different prevention services.
OhioMHAS defines prevention services as being “a planned sequence of culturally appropriate, science-driven strategies intended to facilitate attitude and behavior change for individuals and/or communities.” The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) has outlined six strategies that can be considered as effective prevention: education, alternatives, problem ID and referral, information dissemination, environmental, and community based process. Wayne County Coalitions utilize multiple strategies to increase the effectiveness of their work. Some strategies they use include doing classroom presentations about substances, providing alternative activities for youth and families, collaborating with community partners and agencies, and publishing parent alerts like this one each month to provide information to the community.
Prevention is an important part of behavioral health because it addresses problems before they begin. Check out the resources below to learn more about prevention and how it works.