In 1990, the US Congress established the first week of October as Mental Illness Awareness Week (MIAW). The goal is to end the stigma associated with mental illness and to ensure better understanding and access to diagnosis and treatment. 1 in 5 Americans suffer from a mental condition such as depression or other mood disorders. However, mental illness can affect everyone directly or indirectly through family, friends, or coworkers. Despite mental illnesses’ reach and prevalence, stigma, and misunderstanding are also, unfortunately, widespread.
For 2018, the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) will promote the theme of “Cure Stigma” throughout all of their awareness events. The campaign’s manifesto is this:
“There’s a virus spreading across America. It harms the 1 in 5 Americans affected by mental health conditions. It shames them into silence. It prevents them from seeking help. And in some cases, it takes lives. What virus are we talking about? It’s stigma. Stigma against people with mental health conditions. But there’s good news. Stigma is 100% curable. Compassion, empathy and understanding are the antidote. Your voice can spread the cure. Join NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness. Together we can #CureStigma.”
Help spread the work through the many awareness, support, and advocacy activities including World Mental Health Day (Oct. 10) and National Depression Screening Day (Oct. 11).
Kailey Kocourek, Project Coordinator for The Kim Foundation, http://www.thekimfoundation.org/
Kailey Kocourek joined The Kim Foundation in July 2018 as the Project Coordinator. She received her Bachelor’s Degree from UNO in Public Health and is currently working towards her Master’s in Public Health from UNMC, expecting to graduate in May 2019. She was drawn to the non-profit world because of her passion for helping and educating others. In her spare time, she enjoys baking and spending time with her husband, Ethan, and two children, Kaiden and Emry.