Advocating During Mental Illness Awareness Week

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 continues to grow stronger. 

We believe that mental health issues are important to address year-round, but highlighting 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. 

Here are ten ways you can get involved and show your support during Mental Illness Awareness Week: 

  1. Connect with your local affiliate. Find out if they are hosting a community event in honor of MIAW and ask how you can get involved. You can find your closest NAMI affiliate here
     
  2. Call your state representatives. Let them know it’s Mental Illness Awareness Week. Ask them what they’re doing to in the legislature to promote a better mental health system in Wisconsin. Be sure to thank them for their efforts. You can find out who represents you by typing your address here.  
     
  3. Host a community forum. Invite community leaders such as teachers, elected officials and faith leaders to partake in a mental health forum hosted at your local community center. One of the best ways to spread awareness is through one-on-one experiences. 
     
  4. Wear lime green. Be bold. Grab attention and send a message without saying a word. Show your support by wearing lime green, the official color representative of mental illness. You can find NAMI gear at the NAMI Store
     
  5. Post on social media. Whether you Tweet or Facebook, social media connects thousands of people to your cause. Let people know that the first week of October is Mental Illness Awareness Week by using #FutureOfMentalHealth.
     
  6. Share your story. Sharing your story and creating safe spaces for others to do the same is one of the most effective ways to eliminate stigma. 
     
  7. Start a dialogue. Ask your local affiliate about NAMI Wisconsin’s Whiteboard Project, an opportunity for the community to share why mental health matters to them. 
     
  8. Volunteer your time. NAMI affiliates are the heart and soul of our organization…and many are volunteers! Find a way to connect your skill set with a need at your local affiliate. 
     
  9. Educate. Politely raise mental health issues with elected officials, local leaders, teachers and colleagues. Find the facts here
     
  10. Be present. One of the best gifts you can give a person is a listening ear. Let a loved one who is going through a hard time know you are there for them. 

Also-- don't forget to participate in NAMI Wisconsin's Whiteboard Project! By simple posting a selfie on your social media feeds, you can create dialogue and end stigma surrounding mental illness. Click here to learn more about the Whiteboard Project.