Mental Illness Awareness Week (MIAW) takes place October 2-8 and is an opportunity to learn more about serious mental illnesses such as major depression, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia.
Mental illnesses are medical illnesses. One in four adults experiences a mental health problem in any given year. One in 17 lives with serious, chronic illness.
“Many people in our community are directly affected by mental illness,” said Jere Brands, President of NAMI-Albany. “The good news is that treatment does work and recovery is possible.”
On average, people living with serious mental illness live 25 years less than the rest of the population. One reason is that less than one-third of adults and less than one-half of children with a diagnosed illness receive treatment.
“The U.S. Surgeon General has reported that stigma is a major barrier to people seeking help when they need it,” Brands said. “That’s why MIAW is so important. We want people to understand mental illness and join a dialogue in our community. The more people know, the better they can help themselves or help their loved ones get the help and support they need.”
When mental health care isn’t available in a community, the results often are lost jobs and careers, broken families, more homelessness, more welfare and much more expensive costs for hospital emergency rooms, nursing homes, schools, police and even courts, jails and prisons.
In anticipation of Mental Illness Awareness Week, members and Friends of NAMI-Albany will join hundreds of others in Waycross and in Metro Atlanta to participate in the annual NAMI Walk on Saturday, October 1.
NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness, is the nation’s largest grassroots organization dedicated to improving the lives of individuals and families affected by mental illness. NAMI has a national organization as well as state organizations and local affiliates in more than 1.100 communities across the country.
Learn more about mental illness and about support, education and advocacy at www.nami.org. For more information on NAMI-Albany programs, call Pam at (229)343-8791 or Google NAMI Albany Home.