Curing the Stigma:
Mental Health Awareness Week 2018
Since 1990, the first full-week of October has been recognized as Mental Health Awareness Week. It’s a time to help educate people on the different aspects of mental health while raising awareness for mental illness as a whole.
The week is organized by the National Alliance of Mental Illness (NAMI), and they have declared this year’s theme to be CureStigma.
Personally, we can’t think of a better theme for promoting mental health. One of the primary reasons people don’t seek help for mental illness is because of the stigma that surrounds it. People are afraid being seen as weird, weak, or crazy.
But having a mental health issue doesn’t make you weird. In fact, 1 in 5 adults have a mental health condition.
Admitting you have an issue and making the effort to face it isn’t a sign of a weakness; it’s a show of strength.
And when it comes to mental illness, the “craziest” thing you could do is avoid help and pretend the problem is going to fix itself.
Mental illness doesn’t vanish over time. In fact, it typically gets worse when left untreated. The best way to improve mental health is for people seek help. Breaking the stigma that surrounds mental illness will greatly increase the chances of that happening.
This is NAMI’s manifesto for CureStigma:
There’s a virus spreading across America. It harms the 1 in 5 Americans affected by mental health conditions. It shames them into silence. It prevents them from seeking help. And in some cases, it takes lives. What virus are we talking about? It’s stigma. Stigma against people with mental health conditions. But there’s good news. Stigma is 100% curable. Compassion, empathy and understanding are the antidote. Your voice can spread the cure. Join NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness. Together we can #CureStigma.
Getting the Help You Need
If you’re struggling with something that won’t go away, talk to someone about it. If you experience waves of sadness or anxiety for no reason, reach out for help. Talking to a trusted friend or family member is a good place to start, but you may need to go a step further to truly see change.
Professional counseling has proven time and again to be an effective way of addressing, coping with, and overcoming mental health issues. Don’t wait until something serious happens. Take the first step today.