The National Alliance on Mental Illness will commemorate Mental Illness Awareness Week from October 3-9, and the World Health Organization will celebrate World Mental Health Day on Sunday, October 10.
Mental Illness Awareness Week…
Each year, millions of Americans face the reality of living with a mental health condition. However, mental illness affects everyone directly or indirectly through family, friends or coworkers. That is why each year, during the first week of October, NAMI and participants across the country raise awareness of mental illness, fight discrimination and provide support through Mental Illness Awareness Week (MIAW).
The NAMI believes that mental health conditions are important to discuss year-round, but highlighting them during MIAW provides a dedicated time for mental health advocates across the country to come together as one unified voice. Since 1990, when Congress officially established the first full week of October as MIAW, advocates have worked together to sponsor activities, large or small, to educate the public about mental illness.
This year’s MIAW is centered around our new awareness campaign, “Together for Mental Health,” where we will focus on the importance of advocating for better care for people with serious mental illness (SMI). Each day throughout the week, we will be raising the voices of people with lived experience to talk about SMI and the need for improved crisis response and mental health care.
World Mental Health Day…
It has been more than 18 months since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. In some countries, life is returning to some semblance of normality; in others, rates of transmission and hospital admissions remain high, disrupting the lives of families and communities.
In all countries, the pandemic has had a major impact on people’s mental health. Some groups, including health and other frontline workers, students, people living alone, and those with pre-existing mental health conditions, have been particularly affected. At the same time, a WHO survey conducted in mid-2020 clearly showed that services for mental, neurological and substance use disorders had been significantly disrupted during the pandemic.
The overall objective of World Mental Health Day is to raise awareness of mental health issues around the world and to mobilize efforts in support of mental health. The day provides an opportunity for all stakeholders working on mental health issues to talk about their work, and what more needs to be done to make mental health care a reality for people worldwide.
Yet there is some cause for optimism. During the World Health Assembly in May 2021, governments from around the world recognized the need to scale up quality mental health services at all levels and endorsed WHO’s Comprehensive Mental Health Action Plan 2013-2030, including the Plan’s updated implementation options and indicators for measuring progress.
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