By Rhealyn C. Pojas

President Tommy Remengesau, Jr. issued a presidential proclamation to declare the months of July and August as Prevention Month in Palau.

Through presidential proclamation which was signed on July 10, Remengesau called for the people of Palau to support efforts to “reduce stigma, increase community awareness and increase support for individuals and families coping with mental and/or substance use disorders”.

The proclamation cited that Palau’s population has significantly reduced from 20,000 to 17,500 and that majority of the deaths are associated with unhealthy lifestyles and risky behaviors that come with the use of alcohol, tobacco, and drugs.

“Palau’s youth and community have a higher tolerance for risky behaviors, with substance use rates above average compared to the United States,” it read.

It also mentioned a data based on the Ministry of Health’s survey which revealed that the community readiness for behavioral change is low, averaging only 3 out of 10.

“Simple acts of prevention like helping a friend make positive choices or supporting a family member in need, promoting awareness, and setting an example by staying substance free and by engaging in life promoting activities such as gardening, hiking, stretching, healthy cooking with local, sustainable foods, can lead to healthier lives for each of us today and stronger happier communities tomorrow,” it added.