Mental Illness Awareness Week 2020October 8, 2020
September’s National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month and Recovery Month dovetail with another significant event: Mental Illness Awareness Week (MIAW). Addiction, suicide, and mental illness often meet at a crossroads and must be treated concurrently. As such, professional interventions must address all co-occurring morbidities such as anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder.
The majority of individuals who struggle with addiction also meet the criteria for a dual diagnosis. If people do not receive help for addiction and co-occurring mental illness, they are at a significant risk of self-destructive and self-harming behaviors. As we shared last month, alcohol plays a role in more than one in three suicides.
Mental illness is a global public health crisis. More than 264 million people meet the criteria for depression. The World Health Organization (WHO) has dubbed depressive disorders the number one cause of poor health worldwide. If you are struggling with symptoms of depression, we implore you to reach out for help. Today is National Depression Screening Day.
17.7 million American adults experience a major depressive episode each year—around 40 million adults in the U.S. struggle with depression or anxiety. Receiving a professional screening by your primary care physician or a treatment center can be transformative and the first step toward recovery.
The family, friends, and coworkers of men and women struggling with depression are encouraged to seek professional guidance. An intervention could save the life of the person you love. Remember: some 90 percent of those who commit suicide previously exhibited symptoms of mental illness.
Mental Illness Awareness Week
Like Suicide Awareness and Recovery Month, the goal of Mental Illness Awareness Week is to highlight the importance of mental health. Mental illnesses are treatable; recovery is possible. Those struggling need not suffer in the shadows. Mental illness is common; one in five adults experience a mental health disorder.
The 12-month prevalence of any mental illness among U.S. adults is 19 percent, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI). One in 25 adults experiences serious mental illness. NAMI writes:
“During the first week of October, NAMI and participants across the country raise awareness of mental illness. Each year, we educate the public, fight stigma and provide support. And each year, our movement grows stronger. We believe that mental health conditions are important to discuss year-round, but highlighting them during Mental Illness Awareness Week provides a dedicated time for mental health advocates across the country to come together as one unified voice.”
During this time, you can help NAMI raise mental health awareness. The organization has created many Mental Illness Awareness Week graphics you can share on social media. NAMI also has several sample social media posts you are invited to share. Such as:
- Mental health is a huge part of overall health and should be a priority for everyone, whether you have a mental health condition or not. #MentalIllnessAwarenessWeek #MIAW
- There is no health without mental health #MentalIllnessAwarenessWeek #MIAW
Share Your Story
If you would like to help inspire hope in others who might be struggling with similar issues, NAMI provides outlets to do so. You Are Not Alone is a year-long awareness campaign. Sharing your story can help break the stigma of mental illness and bring about change in the lives of others.
“It’s important for people living with mental health conditions to know that they are not alone. Sharing a story about your mental health challenges can help in your own recovery as well as offer encouragement and support to others with similar experiences. Sharing your story also helps promote understanding and empathy to those without mental illness.”
Please do not underestimate the impact you can have in encouraging men and women to reach out for help. When people do not feel alone, they are more likely to seek assistance. Mental Illness Awareness Week is an excellent opportunity to make your voice heard.
Professional Intervention Services
Please reach out to Whitman Intervention Services if your loved one struggles with addiction or co-occurring mental illness. Whitman Recovery Service has conducted more than 1,000 interventions and has a 98 percent success rate. We have 30 years of experience staging professional interventions; please contact us today to learn more.