During Mental Illness Awareness Week on Oct. 1-7, NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) and participants across the country are raising awareness of mental illness. Each year we fight stigma, provide support, educate the public and advocate for equal care. Each year, the movement grows stronger.
We believe that mental health issues are important to address year-round, but highlighting them during #MIAW provides a time for people to come together and display the passion and strength of those working to improve the lives of the tens of millions of Americans affected by mental illness.
In 1990, the U.S. Congress established the first week of October as Mental Illness Awareness Week (MIAW) in recognition of NAMI’s efforts to raise mental illness awareness. Since 1990, mental health advocates across the country have joined together during the first full week of October to bring attention to the issue of mental illness.
One in five adults experiences mental illness problems every year, and 50 percent of chronic mental illness begins by age 14. Although many people today understand that mental illness is a medical condition, individuals and families affected by mental illness are still often subjected to stigma and discrimination.
This year, the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) is calling on everyone to get “Into Mental Health” and replace stigma with hope.
In addition, as part of Mental Illness Awareness Week, National Depression Screening Day will be held on Thursday, Oct. 5.
Organizations around the world are encouraged to offer free, anonymous questionnaires that can help help individuals identify potential signs of depression.
Learn more at www.mentalhealthscreening.org/programs/ndsd.
What are “mental illnesses?”
They are medical disorders of the brain which can affect moods, thoughts and behaviors.
These disorders can be treated and people with these disorders can live pretty normal lives.
Awareness is about seeing behaviors, knowing what they are and taking appropriate actions to help a loved one to receive the proper help. Early detection makes for a better outcomes.
Signs & Symptoms:
Persistent sad, anxious, or “empty” mood
Feelings of hopelessness, pessimism
Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, helplessness
Loss of interest or pleasure in hobbies and activities that were once enjoyed
What is Bipolar Disorder?
Bipolar Disorder, also known as manic-depressive illness, is a serious medical illness that causes shifts in a person’s mood, energy, and ability to function. Different from the normal ups and downs that everyone goes through, the symptoms of bipolar disorder are severe.
Signs & Symptoms:
Bipolar disorder causes dramatic mood swings from overly “high” and/or irritable to sad and hopeless, and then back again, often with periods of normal mood in between. Severe changes in energy and behavior go along with these changes in mood. The periods of highs and lows are called episodes of mania and depression.
What is Schizophrenia?
Schizophrenia is a chronic, severe, and disabling brain disorder that affects about 1.1 percent of the U.S. population age 18 and older in a given year. People with schizophrenia sometimes hear voices others don’t hear, believe that others are broadcasting their thoughts to the world, or become convinced that others are plotting to harm them. These experiences can make them fearful and withdrawn and cause difficulties when they try to have relationships with others.
Signs & Symptoms:
Symptoms usually develop in men in their late teens or early twenties and women in the twenties and thirties, but in rare cases, can appear in childhood. They can include hallucinations, delusions, disordered thinking, movement disorders, flat affect, social withdrawal, and cognitive deficits
If you would like to know more about how NAMI can help, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 937-750-1702 or Ross Cunningham at Recovery Zone 937-508-5099.
NAMI is the “Nation’s Voice on Mental Illness.”
The NAMI mission is to help improve the quality of life for those affected by mental health disorders through education and support programs.
Crisis Hotline: 1-800-224-0422
Pete Floyd is the president of National Alliance on Mental Illness’s Logan/Champaign chapter.