Now that October has come to an end, I would like to highlight the health awareness days that were promoted throughout the month and provide resources for those who want to learn more about these campaigns. Health awareness days, or National Health Observances, are special times (days, weeks, or months) dedicated to raising awareness about important health topics. Addressing health awareness days is important because they are crucial in promoting education, early detection, prevention, reducing stigma, advocating for support and policy changes. They also foster community support and ultimately improving health outcomes for individuals and populations. Below is a list of the health awareness days of October and links to resources that talk about the campaigns more closely:
1. Mental Illness Awareness Week (Oct. 1-7, 2023)
Each year, during the first month of October, the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) and other advocates nationwide raise awareness and work together to sponsor activities to educate the public about mental illness. They provide information on the warning signs and symptoms of many mental health conditions and access to support and education resources.
2. World Cerebral Palsy Day (Oct. 6th, 2023)
Starting in 2012, World Cerebral Palsy Day has been a global movement that aims to unite people living with cerebral palsy, their families, supporters, and organizations from across 100 countries. Their goal is to have a future where children and adults living with cerebral palsy have the same access, rights, and opportunities as anyone else in our society.
3. World Mental Health Day (Oct. 10th, 2023)
The campaign led by the World Health Organization (WHO) allows communities and people to unite behind the theme “Mental health is a universal right.” It aims to raise awareness, provide knowledge, and drive actions that protect and promote everyone’s mental health as a human right. It’s a day to take the first step, start conversations, and advocate for policies prioritizing mental health.
4. Breast Cancer Awareness Month (Oct. 1-31, 2023)
As many of us know, in October, the National Breast Cancer Foundation campaigns to spread awareness about breast cancer and provides resources and support to over 1.7 million women in need. They offer information on the symptoms and stages of breast cancer, and they even provide resources on how to conduct self-exams. The National Breast Cancer Foundation desires to fill in the gaps in cancer care by helping women through early detection, education, and support services.
5. Health Literacy Awareness Month (Oct. 1-31, 2023)
The Institute for Healthcare Advancement (IHA) dedicates October to recognizing and spreading awareness of health literacy. The institute collectively works together with partners to improve health literacy, which is defined as the degree to which individuals can understand, find, and use information and services to inform health-related decisions and actions for themselves and others. In doing so, the IHA aims to create a more equitable world where everyone can access high-quality care and achieve positive health outcomes.