Mental Health Awareness Week

Every year during the first full week of October, The National Alliance on Mental Illness makes an effort to raise awareness for mental illness. Established by Congress in 1990, Mental Health Awareness Week was created for the purposes of educating the public on the impacts of mental illness and support those who are in need of help. It is important to discuss mental health year-round and to always be a supportive friend and family member, but Mental Health Awareness week was created with the focus of having a designated time to highlight such issues.

 

According to The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), “One in 5 Americans are affected by mental health conditions. Stigma is toxic to their mental health because it creates an environment of shame, fear and silence that prevents people from seeking help and treatment.” One of the goals of Mental Health Awareness week is eliminating the stigma surrounding those living with mental health issues. Because of this, the theme of 2018’s Mental Health Awareness Week, taking place from October 7-13, is “CureStigma”. This year’s theme encourages education, open conversations, understanding and empathy.

 

Navigating the world as a person with mental illness can be difficult, but it doesn’t have to be unbearable. Whether it’s a friend, family member, therapist, or helpline, there are plenty of places to find the help and support you need. Online resources such as nami.org offer numerous resources on mental illness: statistics, a place to talk to others and share your story, and a helpline if you might need one. You can reach the helpline by calling 800-950-NAMI or by texting “NAMI” to 741741.

 

Mental Health is just as important as any other aspects of our lives. It’s important to take care of your mental health with the same vigor that you would take place of your physical health. Know that there are people in your life who are willing and able to listen, help, and offer support. But also know that there is only so much an encouraging word can do. There is no shame in seeking professional or medical help if needed. For those living without mental illness, watch how you speak about mentally ill people, be there for your loved ones even when their illness makes them a bit difficult, and do as much as you can to educate yourself on mental health issues. As NAMI puts it, “The perception of mental illness won’t change unless we act to change it.”