April 11, 2017 (Jackson, Miss.) – The Department of Mental Health is recognizing April as Alcohol Awareness Month, joining the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD) in the theme of “Connecting the Dots: Opportunities for Recovery.”
Each April since 1987, NCADD has sponsored Alcohol Awareness Month to increase public awareness and reduce the stigma associated with alcoholism and alcohol-related issues. This year’s theme is aimed at educating about the treatment and prevention of alcoholism and the role parents can play in helping kids understand the impact alcohol can have on their lives.
Parents have an important role in just speaking to their children about the dangers of alcohol use, which makes children much less likely to drink. It’s important to be honest and to discuss risk factors you may know about, such as a family history of dependency. Research shows that children who have had conversations with their parents and learn about alcohol and drug use are only half as likely to use alcohol and drugs than those who didn’t have those discussions.
If you are a parent, you don’t necessarily have to think about having a “big talk” with your children regarding alcohol and drugs; just look for those teachable moments you can use for your advantage and help kids connect the dogs about the harm drinking and drug use can cause. Be open and honest, but be positive as well.
It is estimated that more than 23 million people over the age of 12 are addicted to alcohol or other drugs. Even more people than that take part in excessive drinking, which is another risk that can lead to alcohol issues later down the road.
The good news is that people can and do recover from substance use disorders. People who enter treatment are likely to benefit from it. Encouraging someone to get help, whether it is through a treatment program or a group like Alcoholics Anonymous, can go a long way.
If you or a loved one needs help, contact the Mississippi Department of Mental Health for more information. Call the toll-free help line 24 hours a day at 1-877-210-8513.
DMH is supporting a better tomorrow by making a difference in the lives of Mississippians with mental illness, substance use disorders and intellectual or developmental disabilities one person at a time.