Boost mental health, drug prevention

May is a month of national observances that include Prevention Week, Drug Court Month, and Mental Health Awareness Month, as well as World No Tobacco Day. This is fitting, since drug abuse prevention and mental health go hand-in-hand.

The website (drugabuse.gov) of the National Institute on Drug Abuse suggests three scenarios to consider:

“Drugs can cause abusers to experience symptoms of another mental illness.”

“Individuals with mental disorders may abuse drugs as a form of self-medication.”

“Both drug use disorders and other mental illnesses are caused by overlapping factors such as genetic vulnerabilities and/or early exposure to stress or trauma.”

The good news is that, with the correlation between the occurrence of drug abuse and mental illness, it stands to reason there is also a correlation between their prevention, treatment and recovery. Let this month be a time to focus on your well-being and that of your loved ones. Improved mental health can help prevent drug abuse, and prevention of drug abuse can enhance mental health. It’s a win-win situation.

For more information, visit the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration at www.samhsa.gov. Click on “Topics” or “Find Help” for more information and assistance, or call the HFM Prevention Council at 736-8188.

STEPHANIE COOK

Johnstown