Mental Illness Awareness Week: Oct. 6-12

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Mental Illness Awareness Week (MIAW), celebrated around the nation, is Oct. 6–12, 2013 and is an opportunity to learn more about serious mental illnesses such as major depression, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI).

“Mental Illness Awareness Week is one way that we strive to spur conversations about mental illness,” said Julianne Carbin, Executive Director of NAMI Wisconsin. “President Obama has applauded many commitments from various organizations, encouraging the dialogue on mental health. It’s time to make a difference.”

One in four adults experiences a mental health problem in any given year. One in five young people aged 13 to 18 also experience mental illness. In fact, one-half of all mental illness begins by the age of 14--three-quarters by age 24.

Unfortunately, there are long delays--sometimes decades--between the first appearance of symptoms and when people get help. Recovery is possible, but only if people get the treatment they need. Less than one-third of adults and less than one-half of children with a diagnosed illness receive treatment.

Know where to find help if it’s needed and learn about the nature of mental illness and symptoms of different conditions. Information about specific illnesses, diagnosis and treatment options is available at nami.org.

  • About 42 million Americans live with anxiety disorders, including obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • About 15 million live with major depression.
  • About 6 million live with bipolar disorder.
  • About 2.6 million live with schizophrenia.

“The U.S. Surgeon General has reported that stigma is a major barrier to people seeking help when they need it,” said Carbin. “It starts with a conversation. You are never alone, so don’t be afraid to speak up. The more people know, the better they can help themselves or their loved ones get the support they need. We know that advocacy, education and support around mental illness is an ongoing endeavor, but we invite you to join us and challenge you to take action during MIAW.”