Bringing Focus During Mental Illness Awareness Week

The first full week of October is Mental Illness Awareness Week and October 10 is World Mental Health Day, making October a great time to educate everyone about the importance of good mental health, mental health screening, and treatment. By leading events, participating in activities, and simply spreading the word about mental health, you can help reduce the stigma associated with mental illness and encourage more people to cultivate good mental health.

Facts about Mental Health

A great way to celebrate this awareness week and to participate in mental health education is to learn some important facts and statistics. Share these with others, in person, at community events, or on social media to help spread the word:

· 20 percent of American adults experience a mental health issue in any given year.

· 42 million American adults, more than 18 percent of the population has an anxiety disorder.

· One out of every 25 Americans lives with a serious mental illness, like major depression, schizophrenia, or bipolar disorder.

· Together, mental illness and substance use disorders are the leading causes of disability.

· Suicide is the tenth leading cause of death in the U.S., and 90 percent of people who die this way have an underlying mental health condition.

Almost 60 percent of adults and 50 percent of children with mental health issues do not receive mental health treatment.

Participating in Mental Illness Awareness Week

The facts about mental health make it clear that everyone is affected by mental illness. Even if you do not struggle with a mental illness, you likely know or care about someone who does. Reducing the stigma and increasing awareness can help ensure that more people get the diagnoses and care that they need to manage their mental illnesses. One way to get involved is to participate in Mental Health Awareness Week events.

The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) provides press releases, graphics, articles, letter to the editor samples, and other resources that can be downloaded and used for free in the community to help spread awareness. NAMI also provides resources for starting fundraising campaigns, getting involved in community advocacy, and for sharing your personal story of mental health. Editorial Staff