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The month of October is a great time to help a friend or a loved one who is suffering from substance abuse or mental illness. This month full of annual observances that are dedicated to promoting prevention and awareness of these issues, and chances are, you know someone who is affected by substance abuse, either directly or indirectly.

The following observances this October may provide additional opportunities to bring up issues and treatment options for loved ones who are struggling.

National Substance Abuse Prevention Month – Whole Month of October

In 2011, President Obama declared October to be National Substance Abuse Prevention Month. Since then, the Office of National Drug Control Policy has continued to recognize this observance and the tradition has continued with families, communities, and organizations coming together to raise awareness about the importance of substance abuse prevention.1 The theme of 2017 is the “Power of Investing in Prevention.”

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), substance abuse prevention plays a very important role in addressing risk factors among individuals and within communities. Effective prevention programs should include family members and entire communities and should be a part of a long-term process that utilizes multiple interventions.2

Mental Illness Awareness Week – First Week of October

During the first week of October, the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) continues to raise awareness of mental illness by fighting stigma, providing support, educating the public, and advocating for equal care. NAMI provides communities and organizations with resources and tools to use and advocates across the country sponsor activities to educate the public about mental illness.

This year, NAMI has decided to focus on five mental health conditions that are often misunderstood or stigmatized.3 They include:

  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder
  • Borderline personality disorder
  • Dual diagnosis
  • Depression
  • Schizophrenia

Learning more about these mental illnesses also opens up opportunities to discuss substance abuse as well, as many people who suffer from the mental illnesses listed above also have substance abuse disorders.

National Depression Screening Day – October 5

National Depression Screening Day (NDSD) is held annually during Mental Illness Awareness Week in October. This annual observance is comprised of awareness events held across the nation, each providing participants with the option to complete a depression screening. Thousands of colleges, community organizations, and military installations participate in NDSD every year.4

Although everyone experiences stress, sadness, and anxiety in life, many people may be completely unaware that they are suffering from depression. Their depression could even be contributing to other life issues such as eating disorders, substance abuse, or addiction. If you believe that you or a loved one could be suffering from depression, Screening for Mental Health (SMH) also offers a free, anonymous mental health screening online here.

World Mental Health Day – October 10

World Mental Health Day is observed on the tenth day of October every year. The primary objective of this annual observance is to raise awareness of mental health issues and to expand efforts in support of mental health.5

The World Health Organization provides a wealth of information and resources for community organizations, treatment providers, and educators to use for training, education, and prevention purposes.

National Prescription Drug Take Back Day – October 28

National Prescription Drug Take Back Day is observed every October and provides individuals with a safe and responsible way to dispose of leftover prescription drugs.6 It’s also a great opportunity to educate the public about the potential for abuse and misuse of prescription drugs.

If you have leftover prescription drugs in your medicine cabinet, you can use the Drug Enforcement Administration’s website to search for a collection site near you. Once you have located a nearby site, you can take your old prescription drugs to the location and drop them off. It’s as simple as that. The DEA also provides informational handouts, posters, and materials for organizations or individuals who would like to promote this annual observance.

As you can see, October is full of opportunities to raise awareness and discuss issues revolving around substance abuse and mental illness. If you or a loved one is searching for a drug and alcohol rehab program or would like more information about our rehab center, please call our admissions team today. We are dedicated to raising awareness of these issues and providing high-quality addiction treatment to those who need it most. If you’re ready to learn more or would like to enroll in a drug and alcohol rehab program, please call today.



  1. https://www.ncadd.org/blogs/in-the-news/october-is-national-substance-abuse-prevention-month-1-1
  2. https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/preventing-drug-abuse-among-children-adolescents-in-brief/prevention-principles
  3. https://www.nami.org/miaw
  4. https://mentalhealthscreening.org/programs/initiatives
  5. http://www.who.int/mental_health/world-mental-health-day/en/
  6. https://www.deadiversion.usdoj.gov/drug_disposal/takeback/
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