Press Releases

Join NAMI this Mental Illness Awareness Week to Raise the Voices of Lived Experience

Oct 05 2020

Arlington, VA – This year we’ve seen the numbers of Americans impacted by mental health conditions on the rise as a result of the pandemic and more people than ever need help. In honor of Mental Illness Awareness Week (MIAW) on Oct. 4-10, 2020, the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) and participants across the country are raising awareness and educating about mental illness warning signs and symptoms.

This year’s theme for MIAW is “What People with Mental Illness Want You to Know.” Too often, people with mental illness are marginalized, isolated and discriminated against because their conditions are misunderstood by the general public. Each day throughout the week, we will be raising the voices of those with lived experience to talk about some of the conditions and symptoms that are most misunderstood. Our goal is to help people understand the complexities of mental illness.

Since 1990, when Congress officially established the first full week of October as MIAW, advocates have worked together to sponsor activities to educate the public about mental illness. While mental health conditions are important to discuss year-round, highlighting them during MIAW provides a dedicated time for mental health advocates across the country to come together as one unified voice. This year, NAMI is calling on everyone to become informed and listen to the voices of people with lived experienced to increase acceptance and compassion for those who are struggling.

“Every year during MIAW, we educate the public, raise awareness and advocate for better access to quality mental health care. This year it’s more important than ever, given the collective crisis, for us to realize that mental health conditions can affect us all,” said Daniel H. Gillison, Jr., NAMI CEO. “We are calling on everyone to join together to create a community that cares.”

One in five adults experience mental illness every year. Although many people today understand that mental illness is a medical condition, there are still many stigmatizing misconceptions and stereotypes at large. By amplifying the voices of people with lived experience during MIAW, NAMI hopes to increase awareness, empathy and compassion for those with mental illness.

Learn more about Mental Illness Awareness Week and NAMI offers information about mental illness conditions, symptoms and treatment through the NAMI HelpLine at 800-950-NAMI (6264).

The National Alliance on Mental Illness is the nation’s largest grassroots mental health organization dedicated to improving the lives of individuals and families affected by mental illness. Join the conversation at  #MIAW #NotAlone