Each year, millions of Americans face the reality of living with a mental health condition. One in five adults experiences mental illness problems every year, and 50% 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. Mental illness affects everyone directly or indirectly through family, friends or coworkers. Despite mental illnesses’ reach and prevalence, stigma and misunderstanding are also, unfortunately, widespread.
That is why each year, during the first week of October, the National Alliance on Mental Illness 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. Since 1990, when Congress officially established the first full week of October as Mental Illness Awareness Week (MIAW), advocates have worked together to sponsor activities, large or small, to educate the public about mental illness.
During Mental Illness Awareness Week, October 7-13, 2018, NAMI Kent and Queen Anne’s seeks to raise public awareness of mental illness, and to spread the word about its programs for family support and education. Our Family Support Group meets on the first and third Monday of each month. Early next year we will be starting a 12-session course for family members of individuals with severe mental illness. Call us at 443-480-0565 or visit our booth in the Chestertown Farmers Market this Saturday, October 6 for more information.