Mental Illness Awareness Week

This week is Mental Illness Awareness Week. What will you do to raise awareness?Mental Illness Awareness Week

This  annual event is organized by the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) in the US.  In Canada it is coordinated by the Canadian Alliance on Mental Illness and Mental Health.

What’s the point of a week like this?

  • There is still tremendous stigma associated with mental health issues. This leads to many people not seeking the help they need. It also leads to those with mental illness carrying unnecessary burdens of shame and guilt. The more we talk about something and normalize it, the more we can help decrease stigma.
  • Mental health problems are more common than you think.  According to NAMI, “about 60 million Americans experience mental health problems in any given year.  One in 17 lives with the most serious conditions. Less than one-third get treatment”.
  • There are many types of mental health issues you or someone you know might be impacted by. Check out Psych Central’s Prevalence of Common Mental Disorders article and illustrative  graphic:

Prevalence of Common Mental Disorders

You may also be interested in the program now  airing on PBS, Minds on the Edge: Facing Mental Illness. I look forward to hearing your thoughts on it!

Kathleen Young, Psy.D.

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4 Responses to Mental Illness Awareness Week

  1. Oriana says:

    Thank you for posting about Mental Illness Awareness Week. I am searching the internet looking for local resources and news related to this week to share on my organization’s blog and facebook page. But there is surprisingly little, even though mental illness is estimated to affect 20% of Americans directly — and affect EVERYONE when you consider family and friends. Thank you for sharing and helping to raise awareness.

  2. Hi Oriana-

    I agree, I had trouble finding coverage too! Thanks for introducing me to your Blog. It looks like you are even local!

  3. Kerrie says:

    Hi Kathleen,

    I notice that ,once again, my diagnosis (DID/DDNOS) is invisible in “invisible illness week” even though its incidence is about 1% !

    That makes it about the same as Schizophrenia and OCD (Which I suffered from along with depression, etc etc)……….ironic eh?

    Dissociative disorders seem to get left out ,even by professionals like yourself. No wonder we have a hard time becoming ‘visible’


    • Hi Kerrie-

      Thanks for making this point! Yes it is unfortunate that NIMH did not include statistics on dissociative disorders (Looks to me like that is where Psych Central got the statistics for this graph). Unfortunately, it isn’t that surprising to me, because like you point out, dissociative disorders are often overlooked or misunderstood even within the mental health field!

      I hope you look around my blog a bit more to see that I am well aware of and do address dissociative disorders elsewhere. I’ve written about some of the issues of stigma and misconceptions about DID in my United States of Tara Controversy article, for example.

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