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Behavioral Health

National Prevention Week is May 7-13. North Dakota Health and Human Services’ Behavioral Health Division, along with community partners, is raising awareness about the importance of substance use prevention and positive mental health and resources that are available to all North Dakotans.

“Everyone has a role in creating a healthier North Dakota. Prevention should weave into all aspects of our lives, including where and how we live, learn, work and play,” said Laura Anderson, policy director with the Behavioral Health Division. “Prevention happens every day. National Prevention Week is a great opportunity to celebrate these year-round initiatives and the possibilities prevention brings.”

This year’s National Prevention Week tagline is “A Celebration of Possibility.” Supported by the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, the focus this year is about communities coming together to celebrate the possibilities and brighter futures that exists because of ongoing prevention work happening across the country. 

With the state’s continued focus on prevention, North Dakota has seen some positive outcomes. 

According to the 2021 North Dakota Youth Risk Behavior Survey, in the last 20 years, alcohol use among high school students went from 59.2% in 2001 to 23.7% in 2021, and the percentage of high school students who smoked cigarettes dropped from 35.3% in 2001 to 5.9% in 2021. 

Anderson said effective prevention not only saves lives, but is also cost-effective, saving up to $64 dollars for every dollar invested.

The division provides funding to 30 communities, including four tribal communities, to implement data-driven, evidence-based prevention strategies targeting either underage drinking, adult binge drinking, suicide or opioid abuse and overdose. These communities cover 51 of the state’s 53 counties.

Parents and caregivers can find conversation starters and other resources to help them support the behavioral health of their children at parentslead.org or by following Parents Lead on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube or Pinterest.

Additional prevention resources are available year round on the department’s website.

The Behavioral Health Division is responsible for reviewing and identifying service needs and activities in the state's behavioral health system to ensure health and safety, access to services and quality services. It also establishes quality assurance standards for the licensure of substance use disorder program services and facilities and provides policy leadership in partnership with public and private entities. Learn more about the work of the Behavioral Health Division at www.behavioralhealth.nd.gov

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