Author: Janeane Krongos, Tillamook Family Counseling Center
Many people in the community do not know me, so I would like to take a moment to introduce myself in this column. My name is Janeane Krongos, I work as a prevention coordinator at the Tillamook Family Counseling Center (TFCC). My roles at TFCC include: alcohol and other drug prevention education program coordinator, problem gambling prevention coordinator, suicide prevention coordinator, SOS Tillamook Facebook page administrator, and I assist with the Tillamook County portion of the Northwest Parenting Hub. If you have questions about the prevention program at TFCC please feel free to email me at Janeanek@tfcc.org.
Today I would like to provide Tillamook County residents with information about the 10th anniversary of Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA) National Prevention Week (NPW). The dates for this year’s NPW will be May 9th-15th. During this weeklong health observance, communities across the nation will highlight the past year’s prevention efforts, distribute substance use prevention information, raise awareness of suicide prevention, and promote mental health.
Each year during NPW, SAMHSA selects 5 daily prevention themes. This year’s themes include, prescription drug and opioid misuse, underage drinking and alcohol misuse, illicit drug use and youth marijuana use, tobacco use, and suicide. SAMHSA’s topics are based on pressing public health topics that can affect people’s lives.
Throughout this week, local health service partners will be participate in NPW. One local health service provider who will be participating is TFCC. During this weeklong observance, TFCC will share prevention information on Facebook (SOS Tillamook), distribute paper prevention publications in NPW themed information bags, and will present a free virtual suicide prevention training (Question Persuade Refer Gatekeeper training).
Consider some of the following ideas to participate in this year’s NPW:
- Talk to youth about substance use prevention: Talking to youth about substance use prevention can make a big difference. There are many great resources online that can help you have these conversations with youth. One that I would recommend, is SAMHSA’s “Talk They Hear You campaign”. This campaign has a variety of helpful resources including: information to answer your child’s tough questions, conversation tips, and a free app that can be used to practice having these types of conversations. The “Talk They Hear You” campaign can be found on the samhsa.gov website.
- Gain a better understanding of safe medication practices: Safe medication practices should always be used by anyone who has prescription medications in their home. These practices include: using medication only as directed by the prescriber, never sharing prescription medications, placing prescription medications out of the reach of small children, securing medication in a lock box, and the disposal of unused and/or expired medication at a dedicated medication drop off location.
- Participate in a virtual suicide prevention training: On Friday May 14th, Tillamook Family Counseling Center will offer a free virtual Question Persuade Refer (QPR) Gatekeeper training. This training is an evidence based suicide prevention training that has been used worldwide. This training will provide information about suicide warning signs, risk factors, and how to provide help to someone who is experiencing a mental health crisis. To learn more about this training call (503)842-8201 or email Janeanek@tfcc.org.
- Like or share prevention themed social media post: Throughout prevention week, local health service partners will be sharing prevention and mental health information on Facebook. If you see a prevention post on your Facebook feed and find it helpful, consider sharing the Facebook post to help others see the information.
- Incorporate substance use prevention in school lessons: Teachers have the power to play a big part in prevention. If you are a teacher, consider presenting a substance use prevention lesson to your students. Prevention topics may fit in nicely with many class lessons including: health, physical education, and science classes. There several free online prevention resources that were designed for school settings. One that I would recommend is the National Institute on Drug Abuse’s (NIDA) Mind Matters series. This 9 topic prevention series is perfect for students in 5th -8th Teachers can order these publications on the NIDA Drug Pubs website. The NIDA Drug Pubs website can be accessed by visiting: https://drugpubs.drugabuse.gov.
View this column on the Tillamook Headlight Herald at:https://www.tillamookheadlightherald.com/opinion/national-prevention-week/article_b1fd306a-b1d0-11eb-947e-df6baabb6de3.html