Mental Awareness Week

Mental Illness Awareness Week was established in 1990 by the U.S. Congress in recognition of efforts by the National Alliance on Mental Illness to educate and increase awareness about mental illness. It takes place every year during the first full week of October.

During the week, mental health advocates and organizations across the U.S. join to sponsor events to promote community outreach and public education concerning mental illnesses such as major depressive disorder, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia.

Nearly 1 in 5 American adults will have a diagnosable mental health condition in any given year. 46 percent of Americans will meet the criteria for a diagnosable mental health condition sometime in their life, and half of those people will develop conditions by the age of 14.

Many people do not seek treatment in the early stages of mental illnesses because they don’t recognize the symptoms. Taking a mental health screening is one of the quickest and easiest ways to determine whether you are experiencing symptoms of a mental health condition. Screening helps catch problems early.

A screening only takes a few minutes, and after you are finished you will be given information about the next steps you should take based on the results. A screening is not a diagnosis, but it can be a helpful tool for starting a conversation with your doctor or a loved one about your mental health. Screening for mental health conditions should be just as normal as screening for cancer, diabetes, heart disease, or any other chronic health condition.To get a free screening, you can visit mhascreening.org.

Locally, to get more information about mental health or if you need to call the mental health hotline, you can contact NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) at info@nami.org or call 800-950-NAMI.

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