The numbers are troubling. Each year, millions of Americans face the reality of living with a mental health condition. One in five U.S. adults experience mental illness each year, one in 20 U.S. adults experience serious mental illness each year, and one in six U.S. youth aged 6-17 experience a mental health disorder each year. Mental illness affects everyone directly or indirectly through family, friends, or coworkers.
That’s why the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) and other organizations, during the first week in October, raise awareness of mental illness, fight discrimination, and provide support through Mental Illness Awareness Week (MIAW).
“We believe 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,” writes NAMI on its website, name.org. “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.”
Mental Illness Awareness Week, which runs from Oct. 3–9, coincides with additional related events, including:
•Tuesday, Oct. 5: National Day of Prayer for Mental Illness Recovery and Understanding
•Thursday, Oct. 7: National Depression Screening Day
•Saturday, Oct. 9: NAMIWalks United Day of Hope
•Sunday, Oct. 10: World Mental Health Day
The following are only a few of the reasons why it’s important to take part in promoting awareness for MIAW. When discussing mental illness, one can use these facts and others to encourage discussions about mental health through social media or other forms of outreach.
- 1 in 5 U.S. adults experience mental illness each year
- 1 in 20 U.S. adults experience serious mental illness each year
- 1 in 6 U.S. youth aged 6-17 experience a mental health disorder each year
- Mental illness affects:
- 44% of LGB adults
- 32% Mixed/Multiracial adults
- 22% of White adults
- 19% of American Indian or Alaska Native
- 18% of Latinx adults
- 17% of Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander adults
- 17% of Black adults
- 14% of Asian adults
Annual prevalence among U.S. adults, by condition:
- Anxiety Disorders: 19.1% (estimated 48 million people)
- Major Depressive Episode: 7.8% (19.4 million people)
- Posttraumatic Stress Disorder: 3.6% (estimated 9 million people)
- Bipolar Disorder: 2.8% (estimated 7 million people)
- Borderline Personality Disorder: 1.4% (estimated 3.5 million people)
- Obsessive Compulsive Disorder: 1.2% (estimated 3 million people)
- Schizophrenia: <1% (estimated 1.5 million people)
For more information on mental health, go to NAMI’s Mental Health by the Numbers page at https://www.nami.org/mhstats. In addition, during MIAW, NAMI will be featuring special blog topics at nami.org/Blogs/NAMI-Blog and personal stories at nami.org/personal-stories.
More resources to promote MIAW or how to get involved can be found at NAMI’s page at: https://www.nami.org/get-involved/awareness-events/mental-illness-awareness-week.