Mental Illness Awareness Week is here!…so why don’t we know about it?

Mental Illness Awareness Week (MIAW)  is October 4 – October 10.

So, where did I find the best information about MIAW? From the Canadian Alliance on Mental Illness and Mental Health. There is supposedly a Bipolar Disorder Awareness Day sometime during the week, but I can’t seem to find any information or the exact date, even on the NAMI web site. I did find on their site that  about 60 million Americans experience mental health problems in any given year. Compare that number to those on breast cancer. According to American Cancer Society, 1.3 million women will be diagnosed with breast cancer annually worldwide. And we all probably know that this month is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. As I’m typing this entry, I am licking yogurt off of pink lids and watching a football game which is adorned with pink paraphernalia to symbolize NFL’s support for this cause. Pink ribbons are everywhere.

Awareness about breast cancer came about after years and years of hard work. Mental health advocates should take notes from their strategy.I’m not expecting for Mental Illness Awareness Week to be as widespread as Breast Cancer Awareness Month. However, the public should at least know that this congressional-designated week even exists. We have been given a full week to talk openly about mental health, but I even doubt that many interested in mental health issues know that this week has any significance in the mental health awareness movement. We can complain that stigma is what’s causing the lack of public information about this week, but I partly disagree. We need to do our share of work to move the discussion and awareness forward.

Now, who knows the ribbon color for mental illness awareness?


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