Prevention Day at the Legislature set January 12, 2022 Contact: Clark Davis, University Relations Specialist, 304-696-3408 Prevention partners from across West Virginia including community coalitions, youth-serving organizations, and higher education groups are participating in Prevention Day at the West Virginia Legislature today. Prevention First Network partners are collaborating to increase West Virginians’ access to needed prevention services to improve the well-being of the youth they serve and the health and safety of all West Virginia communities. Amy Saunders (pictured) is the managing director of the Marshall University Center of Excellence for Recovery (MUCOER) and Prevention Subcommittee Chair for the Governor’s Council on Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment. “Prevention is needed now more than ever,” said Saunders. “We have been seeing the need growing exponentially in our communities, but the U.S. Surgeon General’s Advisory announced in December highlights the urgent need to address the youth mental health crisis in our state. Prevention services are a big component of what WV kids need to thrive.” Prevention helps individuals develop the knowledge, attitudes and skills they need to promote wellness (or change unhealthy behaviors) related to substance use/misuse prevention, suicide prevention, and mental health promotion. Prevention is an important piece of the continuum of behavioral health care, along with promotion, treatment, and recovery. There are 42 organizations that provide or fund prevention services exhibiting on Prevention Day including community coalitions, higher education, government entities, insurance companies and behavioral health providers. With more than 2,300 individuals engaged in community prevention coalitions and about 1,500 youth involved in youth-led prevention, the day is expected to bring in individuals from across the state. Prevention Day opening remarks were at 9 a.m. in the Upper Rotunda (2nd Floor) of the West Virginia Capitol. Speakers scheduled were: Tahnee Bryant, WVDHHR Bureau for Behavioral Health, Office of Children, Youth and Families; Amy Saunders, Managing Director, Marshall University Center of Excellence for Recovery (MUCOER) and Prevention Subcommittee Chair for the Governor’s Council on Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment; Lori Garrett-Bumba, WV Certification Board for Addiction & Prevention Professionals. For more information visit at https://helpandhopewv.org/preventionday/.