First Week in October is Mental Health Awareness Week

Posted October 5, 2020

Mental Health Awareness Week

Mental Health Awareness Week is October 4 through October 10, 2020. This year, it’s essential to be aware of your mental health and the people you love more than ever before. As the pandemic forces people into isolation, keeps children out of school, and hits household finances hard, calls to crisis lines across the country are up, domestic violence cases are on the rise, and people struggle to adjust to the new normal. Mental Health Awareness Week offers essential reminders to consider the people around us who may be struggling with psychological disorders without the benefit of appropriate therapy.

Start with Understanding

Mental Health Awareness Week encourages us to increase our knowledge base and understand what people face when they live with a mental illness. The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) shares some numbers that may be surprising.

  • In the United States, one out of every five adults lives with a mental health diagnosis. However, in 2018, less than half of those (43.3%) received treatment.
  • One in 25 adults experiences symptoms so severe that their case is considered a severe impairment to daily life. (Even for these debilitating cases, only two-thirds sought out and received help.)
  • Among children and youth ages 6 to 17 years, one out of every six has a diagnosed mental health condition.
  • Half of all mental health conditions manifest symptoms by age 14, and 75% appear by age 24.
  • For individuals between the ages of 10 and 34, suicide is the second leading cause of death.

Your circle of friends and family members likely includes someone who struggles to maintain their mental health and daily functioning. It’s essential to understand the prevalence and let them know that they are not alone. Take the time to learn about support groups, outpatient treatment centers, and crisis lines in your area so that you know where to help someone find professional assistance.

Getting Involved

As Mental Health Awareness Week approaches, take advantage of the opportunities to get involved in advocacy and community education. The available activities will vary by community, so watch your local media outlets to find out what’s happening in your area. Here are a few suggestions that most people can take on:

  • Visit your local library or bookstore to read up on the latest assessment trends, diagnosis, and treatment of mental health conditions. If you are struggling, you can find encouragement and support in the stories of others who are navigating their days successfully. If you support a loved one, you can find many books written from a caregiver’s perspective.
  • Use your social media presence to encourage others to take part in awareness activities. Mental Health America, a leading nonprofit in the United States dedicated to supporting mental health for all, offers free social media graphics that you can use on your platforms. When you speak out and make your advocacy voice heard, you may be surprised by how many others step forward with their own surviving and supporting stories.
  • Assess your mental health using the online tools available through various reputable sources. It’s an excellent and confidential way to determine whether you may need to seek professional help. Mental Health America offers many screening tools that address specific issues such as postpartum depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder, to name a few.

Learning More

If you or someone you love is experiencing mental health challenges, you don’t have to wait for Mental Health Awareness Week to find help. Reach out to us at MHS. Our caring professionals provide evidence-based therapy services to adolescents and adults in supportive, respectful, and safe environments. We want you to know that it is possible to live a happy and fulfilling life after a mental health diagnosis with the right treatment plan. Call (952) 835-2002.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock/The Picture Studio