This is Mental Illness Awareness Week, a time when we pause to reflect on the state of mental illness in America.
Congress authorized Mental Illness Awareness Week in 1990 as the first week in October in recognition of the National Alliance on Mental Illness’ (NAMI) efforts to raise mental health awareness. In NAMI’s words,
Real recovery from mental illness requires community action, understanding, and teamwork. Recovery is possible because of improved science, better community supports, and reduced stigma. But significant barriers still exist. Services are at risk, insurance can be insufficient, and stigma, though less today than when Mental Illness Awareness Week was founded, is still prevalent.
You can learn more about Mental Illness Awareness Week by visiting NAMI’s website. Another worthy organization is Mental Health America. Both are grassroots organizations that fight for the rights to compassionate, non-discriminatory treatment of the mentally ill, and against the stigma of mental illness that still imprisons them.
Please join with me in both celebrating the advances in treatment of mental illnesses and thinking about the barriers to treatment this week.