Each year, the first week of October marks Mental Illness Awareness Week (MIAW), a nationwide effort to raise awareness of mental illness.
This important occasion focuses on 3 goals:
- Educating people on mental illness
- Reversing the stigma associated with mental illness
- Supporting those who are struggling with a mental health condition
The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) has established a theme for this year called: “What People With Mental Illness Want You To Know About.”
It’s a sentiment and focus we so appreciate at Sigmund. Because mental illness, in all its forms, is so complex and misunderstood, it’s still critical to amplify the voices of those who live with it every day.
To cure the historical misunderstanding of mental illness, we must continue to provide and evolve the platforms available to those who are prepared to speak out, educate, and connect with others.
Education is such an essential aspect of MIAW, but perhaps even more meaningful is the chance for people struggling with mental illness to see others struggling with the same things they are.
Even though stigma and misunderstanding persist, mental illness is quite common. The data proves it:
- 1 in 5 adults experience mental illness every year (US)
- 1 in 6 youths, aged 6-17, experience a mental health disorder every year (US)
Still, mental illness can often be a very lonely experience. The more we raise the voices and truths of those with mental illness, the better chance there is to reach someone who would really benefit from seeing their own experience reflected in someone else’s.
NAMI has raised the voices of three individuals this year in their MIAW Video Series. Hear what mental illness means in their own words:
- Krishna Louis: What I wish people knew about anxiety
- Andrea Landry: What I wish people knew about bipolar disorder
- Ashlynn McNeeley: What I wish people knew about Borderline Personality Disorder
How Can I Participate in Mental Illness Awareness Week?
We’ve put together some resources to help you get involved in MIAW:
- Mental Health By The Numbers from NAMI
- Pledge to Be Stigma Free from NAMI
- Downloadable logos, graphics and images to spread awareness on social media from NAMI
- 7 Days, 7 Ways: 7 Actions To Take During Mental Illness Awareness Week from Mental Health America
Mental Illness During COVID-19
If there ever was a year that really needed a week dedicated to mental illness awareness, it’s 2020. The pandemic has burdened us with all sorts of unique stressors and challenges.
In fact, COVID-19 stress and its mental health implications are so potent and prevalent that we dedicated an entire article to it. We explore why the pandemic is so stressful, and what that means for our mental health.
Have your mental illness symptoms worsened since COVID-19 hit? Or maybe you’re experiencing new mental health issues you’ve never dealt with before? This article can provide some context for why you’re feeling this way and some tips on how to preserve your mental health during this time.