This week from October 7 to October 13 is National Mental Illness Awareness Week in the U.S., as was recognized by Congress beginning in 1990. Wednesday will also mark World Mental Health Day, which is recognized by countries around the globe. For this year’s week of mental health awareness, the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) is promoting the cure of mental health stigma as it exists in today’s culture, according to WTKR News 3. The name of NAMI’s theme is “CureStigma” and explores the ways that people can try to understand what their loved ones or peers are going through with mental illness so that they can be more helpful and supportive.
“When you feel anxious, you feel depressed, or you feel like there’s a lot of stress going on in your life, it’s okay to speak up, just as you would speak up if you had a lump under your skin or if you had migraine headaches,” said Tyler Corson of NAMI in Virginia Beach.
News 3 reports the CDC’s findings that suicides have been on the rise nationally and says that NAMI recommends offering more local peer support groups that are easily accessible to those suffering from mental illness. Corson explains that these groups are necessary for family members as well to help reduce the stigma associated with mental illness.
This Mental Illness Awareness Week, #NPRCs support efforts to #CureStigma. Not only do the #NPRCs want to help change the perception of mental illness, our research studies seek answers to treat and even prevent mental health issues.
— National Primate Research Centers (@NPRCnews) October 8, 2018
NAMI’s website explains the “CureStigma” movement in more detail. It states that the idea of “curing stigma” surrounding mental illness will be promoted at all associated events during the awareness week. The hope is to help people realize that one in five Americans are affected by mental illness but experience fear of stigma if they open up about it. Therefore, states NAMI, too many people are suffering mental illness and afraid to seek treatment because they worry what others will think of them. This is the reason the organization wants to spread support for ending the stigma this year.
“Stigma is toxic to mental health because it creates an environment of shame, fear and silence that prevents many people from seeking help and treatment. The perception of mental illness won’t change unless we act to change it,” says NAMI’s website.
The concern of rising suicide rates and mental health care issues is not just limited to the U.S., though. Tuesday, RACGP reported that Australia is going to reevaluate its government spending on mental health care to determine whether it’s enough. And regarding India, TIME reported that mental health taboo remains a big issue and reported on the opinion of Indian Psychiatrist Dr. Bharat Vatwani. Notably, the Inquistr added with a report on Prince William and Duchess Kate’s outing at the Global Mental Health Summit on Tuesday.