Nowadays, you would be hard pressed to find someone who hasn’t been impacted by mental illness in one way or another. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), over 19% of US adults dealt with a mental illness in 2018. That’s close to 48 million people! Research continues to prove that mental illness is not a rare occurrence in our country, yet the stigma is still alive and well and many are still suffering in silence. Due to lack of knowledge and awareness, shame tends to surround those who have a mental illness. Aside from the obvious feelings of isolation, a potentially dangerous consequence of shame is not reaching out for help. Mental Health is just as important as physical health, yet efforts to address physical health far outnumber those for mental health.
Since 1990, Congress officially established the first full week of October as Mental Illness Awareness Week. Although mental illness awareness should be a year-round priority, establishing a set week every year to shine a light on it allows for even more visibility. From corporate events, to lunch and learns, to charity walks, and more, Mental Illness Awareness Week is a time when advocates from across the country amplify their messaging to raise awareness, and work towards ending the stigma associated with mental illness. Like any other taboo topic, the more we speak about it, the harder it is for stigma to thrive.
It’s important to note that as we close out the month of October, the topic of mental health should remain prevalent in our conversations, especially as the holidays approach. Although Hallmark may portray the holidays as the “…most wonderful time of the year”, that is not necessarily the case for everyone. For many, the holidays can be a time of family disputes, financial hardships, and remembering loved ones who have passed away. Now, more than ever, it’s important to take the time to connect with other people and let them know they are not alone.
So, if you’re someone who is dealing with emotional hardships this time of year, remember that you are not alone, you are not “broken”, and help is available.
If you or someone you love is struggling, or if you are a health provider, please join us on November 7th at the Mind Brain Institute for a free demonstration, and an information session on a breakthrough treatment for Depression, called TMS.