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The Connecticut Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services (DMHAS), in partnership with state and local organizations, and communities, will celebrate National Prevention Week from May 8-14, 2022. Now in its 11th year, the effort is designed to build and expand outreach, education, and public awareness of—and action around—substance misuse and mental health. The themes of this year’s campaign are “Strengthen Community, Build Resilience, Create Hope.”

Several prevention-themed events will happen during that week as well as throughout the month of May, including a National Prevention Week cornerstone event on May 14, which will include opportunities to meet Connecticut’s Prevention mascot, Starfish Stella. Several vendors, including a coloring station and therapy dog, and the Change the Script resource van, also will be on hand. The event will be held at the Sacred Heart University Discovery Science Center and Planetarium, 4450 Park Avenue, Bridgeport, from 10 AM – 3 PM.

“Everyone has a role in creating a healthier Connecticut. By promoting healthy behaviors and preventing drug and alcohol misuse, we reduce the risk of substance use disorder,” said Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont. “From Greenwich to Thompson, and Salisbury to Stonington, prevention is happening at the community level on a daily basis. National Prevention Week provides an opportunity for schools and communities to host events that raise awareness about these important issues among students and families.”

“Prevention can be woven into all aspects of our lives—where and how we live, learn, work, and play—and everyone can play a role in creating a safer, healthier Connecticut. National Prevention Week helps to raise awareness and celebrate prevention efforts across the state,” said DMHAS Commissioner Nancy Navarretta. “By raising awareness and increasing education around substance use and mental health, we can help to reduce stigma, offer resources for help, and encourage early intervention and prevention.”

“People have suffered in a myriad of ways through this pandemic and have been using unhealthy methods and various substances to cope with feelings of isolation,” added Connecticut Department of Public Health Commissioner Manisha Juthani, MD. “Taking time during National Prevention Week to think about how we can focus on mental health and prevention strategies has never been more important.”

Nationally, Prevention Week will feature key themes:

  • Monday, May 9: Preventing Prescription Drug and Opioid Misuse
  • Tuesday, May 10: Preventing Underage Drinking and Alcohol Misuse
  • Wednesday, May 11: Preventing Illicit Drug Use and Youth Marijuana Use
  • Thursday, May 12: Preventing Youth Tobacco Use (E-Cigarettes and Vaping)
  • Friday, May 13: Preventing Suicide

A full list of events happening in Connecticut throughout the month of May can be found at

The planning of Connecticut’s observance of National Prevention Week is led by Wheeler staff and includes three subcommittees. The Event, Mascot, and Media Subcommittees, comprising individuals and organizations from across the state, also are actively engaged in several other local initiatives for May with some continuing throughout the year.

The Event Subcommittee is responsible for coordinating the cornerstone National Prevention Week event on May 14.

The Mascot Subcommittee and Media Subcommittee launched a K-12 student art contest featuring Stella the Starfish, the Connecticut Prevention Week mascot, and various aspects of prevention. Selected submissions will be featured in a prevention-themed coloring book, available online at The starfish mascot was created last year to communicate the many aspects of prevention and the importance of outreach.

National Prevention Week

National Prevention Week (NPW) is an annual health observance dedicated to increasing public awareness of, and action around, mental health and/or substance use disorders. Communities make prevention happen every day – not just during NPW – and NPW is the perfect time to promote and celebrate prevention activities and resources in our communities.

The three primary goals of National Prevention Week are to involve communities in raising awareness of substance use and mental health issues and in implementing prevention strategies, and showcasing effectiveness of evidence-based prevention programs; foster partnerships and collaborations with federal agencies and national organizations dedicated to improving public health; and promote and disseminate quality substance use prevention and mental health promotion resources and publications.

NPW in Connecticut is coordinated by a Planning Committee that is led by Wheeler’s Connecticut Clearinghouse and includes: the Connecticut Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services (DMHAS), Connecticut Department of Children and Families (DCF), the Connecticut Department of Public Health (DPH), The Governor’s Prevention Partnership (GPP), the Prevention Training and Technical Assistance Service Center (TTASC), Regional Behavioral Health Action Organizations (RBHAOs), and Local Prevention Councils and other coalitions serving Connecticut communities.

Additional details can be found at or at the Connecticut Prevention Week Facebook page  #PreventionHappensHereCT  #CTPreventionWeek  #NPW2022


Connecticut Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services
The Connecticut Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services is a health care agency whose mission is to promote the overall health and wellness of persons with behavioral health needs through an integrated network of holistic, comprehensive, effective, and efficient services and supports that foster dignity, respect, and self-sufficiency in those we serve. While the Department’s prevention services serve all Connecticut citizens, its mandate is to serve adults (over 18 years of age) with psychiatric or substance use disorders, or both, who lack the financial means to obtain such services on their own. Visit the DMHAS website at

Connecticut Clearinghouse

Connecticut Clearinghouse is a statewide library and resource center for information on substance use and mental health disorders, prevention and health promotion, treatment and recovery, wellness, and other related topics. Materials from its specialized library and resource center are available to Connecticut families, teachers, students, professionals, communities, and children. A program of Wheeler’s Connecticut Center for Prevention, Wellness and Recovery, Connecticut Clearinghouse is funded by the Connecticut Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services. Learn more:

 Change the Script Mobile Resource Van

The Change the Script mobile resource van is an element of the statewide opioid prevention campaign managed by Wheeler’s Connecticut Clearinghouse and funded by DMHAS. The van includes materials on opioid and other drug prevention, treatment, and recovery resources, as well as a broad range of other mental health and wellness resources.



Wheeler provides comprehensive solutions that address complex health issues, providing individuals, families, and communities with accessible, innovative care that encourages health, recovery, and growth at all stages of life. Our integrated approach to primary and behavioral health, education and recovery creates measurable results, positive outcomes, and hopeful tomorrows for more than 50,000 individuals across Connecticut each year. Learn more: