In the United States, almost half of adults will experience a mental illness during their lifetime. Millions of people suffer with mental illness every year, and many of these mental health disorders begin at age 14. It’s clear that mental illness affects everyone to some degree. Despite the widespread reach of mental illness, it still carries a stigma and is often misunderstood.
To help clear up the misconceptions of mental illness, the first full week in October is Mental Illness Awareness Week. This week is dedicated to educating the public, fighting the stigma and providing support. There are many ways to get involved – big and small. Here are a few ways to show your support for the 1 in 5 adults who will experience mental illness this year.
This year’s WhyCare? Campaign is an opportunity to show you care. We love this campaign because all it requires is for people to care. It will make you feel good. It will make others feel good.
Download graphics, messages and other information to share with others. Participate in awareness events in your community. Lend an ear to a friend or coworker who is dealing with mental illness, either personally or through a loved one.
Create or Support a Fundraiser
Mental Illness Awareness Week is sponsored by NAMI. You can fundraise for NAMI or another mental health organization in your community. Plan an event like a bake sale or concert. Celebrate a milestone or birthday and ask for donations in place of gifts. Or, start your own campaign to raise awareness.
You can also donate to an existing fundraiser. Visit nami.org/fundraise to search for fundraisers.
Participate in a NAMI Walk
Walking for mental health is an easy way to join the movement and show your support. Each NAMI walk is a 5K event that raises awareness and funds for NAMI organizations. By visiting namiwalks.org, you can search for events in your area. Plus, walking is good for your own mental health and a healthy practice to get into!
Share Your Story
Perhaps you live with a mental health disorder and can share your story with others. How did you recognize that you had a mental illness? What challenges do you face? What strategies work best when dealing with stressful situations? Sharing your story is good for you and also provides hope to those who are battling mental illness.
If you enjoy taking action, influencing policymakers is a great way to help. Policy change is one of the best ways we can make a difference for people living with mental illness. By advocating for these individuals, you can influence policymakers to protect people’s access to mental health treatment and services and secure better funding for mental health research.
Mental Illness Awareness Week runs from Sunday, October 6th to Sunday, October 12th, 2019. How will YOU get involved?