Youth Services System

National Mental Illness Awareness Week: Break the Stigma

In 1990, Congress dedicated one week per year as Mental Illness Awareness week “in recognition of efforts by the National Alliance on Mental Illness [NAMI] to educate and increase awareness about mental illness.” This week, October 7-13, is Mental Illness Awareness week.


Almost every one of us knows someone who struggles with a mental illness. The more we increase awareness about mental illness, the further the stigma will continue to fall away from mental health issues.

Here are some facts from NAMI about mental illness in the United States:

  • “Approximately 1 in 5 adults in the U.S.—43.8 million, or 18.5%—experiences mental illness in a given year.
  • Approximately 1 in 25 adults in the U.S.—9.8 million, or 4.0%—experiences a serious mental illness in a given year that substantially interferes with or limits one or more major life activities.
  • Approximately 1 in 5 youth aged 13–18 (21.4%) experiences a severe mental disorder at some point during their life. For children aged 8–15, the estimate is 13%.
  • 1.1% of adults in the U.S. live with schizophrenia.
  • 2.6% of adults in the U.S. live with bipolar disorder.
  • 6.9% of adults in the U.S.—16 million—had at least one major depressive episode in the past year.
  • 18.1% of adults in the U.S. experienced an anxiety disorder such as posttraumatic stress disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder and specific phobias.
  • Among the 20.2 million adults in the U.S. who experienced a substance use disorder, 50.5%—10.2 million adults—had a co-occurring mental illness.”

The stigma surrounding mental illness is what prevents those who are struggling struggling from seeking the professional help they need. Remember: mental illness is nothing to be ashamed of, and asking for help in battling it is a sign of strength, not of weakness.

If you would like to talk to someone, or just learn more about mental illness, reach out to us. We’re here to help.

I Want Control.

Topics: Psychosis, Schizophrenia, Anxiety, Depression, Mental Ilness, Awareness