The GRAAB Coalition will host a series of events in support of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s National Prevention Week today through Friday.
The purpose of NPW is to bring awareness of substance abuse and mental health issues to the general public.
Going Respectfully Against Addictive Behaviors Coalition executive director Tanya Southerland said she is excited about the opportunities and partnerships that could develop over the six-day event.
Each day will have a specific topic:
- Sunday: prevention and cessation of tobacco use;
- Monday: prevention of underage drinking;
- Tuesday: prevention of prescription drug abuse and marijuana use;
- Wednesday: prevention of alcohol abuse;
- Thursday: prevention of suicide;
- Friday: promotion of mental health.
A GRAAB booth will be set up in the YMCA on Monday, and in the Cleveland Bradley County Public Library on both Tuesday (11 a.m. to 2 p.m.) and Friday (12 p.m. to 3 p.m.). The booths have proven to be successful in getting GRAAB’s message to the public in the past.
Southerland encouraged area residents to check out the booths during National Prevention Week. Visuals will be set up to help individuals identify prescription pills, stimulants and illegal drugs among other information and hands-on demonstrations.
“This year’s theme, ‘Our Lives. Our Health. Our Future.’ emphasizes the important role that each of us has in maintaining a healthy life and ensuring a productive future,” Southerland said. “Through our choices, we can set an example of health and well-being for others, for future generations.
“With our voices, whether spoken or written, we can raise awareness of behavioral health issues and help create healthier and safer communities.”
She assured community residents the office will be open to those in need of further information, contacts and educational material.
GRAAB has recently launched three programs to meet the need of both parents and youth in terms of substance abuse. These include the Youth Empowerment Program, the Parent Enrichment Workshop and the Parent 2 Parent Support Group.
According to a pamphlet provided through GRAAB, the youth program was designed as an aid to help with the transition from high school to the workforce or higher education. Members are educated in personal self-management skills, general social skills, drug resistance skills, career options and opportunities and social responsibility.
The parent workshop is meant to provide information and tools to help guardians “make positive and productive choices.” Discussion during workshops center around such topics as why kids use drugs, healthy stress management, community resources and effective communication.
A pamphlet provided by GRAAB explains the parent support group is an effort to show parents struggling to understand their children they are not alone. The support group meets the first Thursday of every month at 233 Broad Street from 6 to 7:30 p.m. RSVPs are required and can be made to GRAAB at 472-5800.
Southerland explained the National Prevention Week is a great opportunity bring to life issues tackled by the community throughout the year.
“This week is really great because it points out the key issues that are affecting our nation,” she said. “We are going to take this week and tell you about all these resources that are available in the community.”
More information can be found by visiting the website at graabcoalition.com. Updates on NPW can be found by following GRAAB on Twitter, @GRAABCoalition, or by searching GRAAB Coalition of Bradley County on Facebook.