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Mental Illness Awareness Week
October 1-7, 2017

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Each year millions of Americans face the reality of living with a mental health condition.

During the first full week of October, NAMI and participants across the country are raising awareness of mental illness. Each year we fight stigma, provide support, educate the public and advocate for equal care. Each year, the movement grows stronger.

We believe that mental health issues are important to address year-round, but highlight them during #MIAW provides a time for people to come together and display the passion and strength of those working to improve the lives of the tens of millions of Americans affected by mental illness. 

During Mental Illness Awareness Week on Oct. 1-7, join NAMI in shining a light on mental illness and replacing stigma with hope!


Why does mental health matter to you? 

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In honor of this year’s Mental Illness Awareness Week, NAMI Wisconsin is asking you to participate in our Whiteboard Projects! Across the state, we are distributing whiteboards to all of our 31 local affiliates so advocates can tell us why mental health matters to them.

Each whiteboard includes the phrase, ‘mental health matters because..’ and a large blank space that can be filled in with a personalized message. After taking a picture with the whiteboard message, we encourage everyone to post that picture on social media with the hashtag #FutureofMentalHealth to share with as many people throughout the state of Wisconsin.

Dialogue is the key to breaking down stigma surrounding mental illness. By talking about the harsh realities of a mental illness diagnosis, our community can get on board to promote hope and recovery. There is not faster or cheaper way to communication with larger audiences than social media.

Even if you don’t have a whiteboard, you can still participate! Here are the steps to participate at home:

  • Step 1: Print this PDF and write a personalized message on the whiteboard to go along with the phrase “mental health matters because…”
  • Step 2: Take a photo so that the whiteboard and the personalized message are clear and visible.
  • Step 3: Post that picture on social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram) along with the hashtag #FutureofMentalHealth

Be sure to continue spreading the word to your community members after you take your picture! Here are some ideas on how to use the Whiteboard Project in your Mental Illness Awareness Week festivities.

  • Plan visits with elected officials and/or other local ‘celebrities’ and ask them to write a message
  • Create a photobooth station at an event or another community function
  • Bring copies to meetings, work, etc.
  • Set up a table at a community event and ask attendees to stop and take a photo (i.e. farmers markets, fairs, festivals, etc)
  • Email the PDF template to your family and friends and ask them to also print to take a photo at home

If you have any questions, feel free to contact Jamie Gurgul, NAMI Wisconsin’s Communications & Events Director, at jamie@namiwisconsin.org. We thank you for your support during this year’s Mental Illness Awareness Week! Your personalized stories and messages will empower those around you to find help and find hope.

Click here to download the printable PDF. 

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