This week is Mental Illness Awareness Week (MIAW) and it is the perfect time for YOU to start a conversation with the people in your life about mental illness!
Let NAMIWalks and MIAW be the icebreaker for your conversation. Mention to a friend that you are participating in a walk- and when they ask you “for what?” that gives you the opportunity to talk about mental illness and why you are walking. Send an email to your contacts letting them know it is National Mental Illness Awareness Week and explain why it means something to you (don’t forget to put your personal fundraising link in the body of the email!). Chances are that the people you are reaching out to have had experience with mental illness at some point in their lifetime, whether personally or through knowing somebody who has experienced a mental illness.
|"Talk" by posting the image above on your facebook!|
How do we know that people you are going to start your conversation with will be able to relate to mental illness? Let’s look at some statistics:
- 1 in 4 adults—approximately 57.7 million Americans—experience a mental health disorder in a given year.
- 1 in 17 adults live with a serious mental illness such as schizophrenia, major depression or bipolar disorder. 
- About 1 in 10 children live with a serious mental or emotional disorder.
With numbers like these, most people in your life have likely been touched by mental illness in some way or another.
Make it a goal to talk to one person this week on the topic of mental illness and, even if your walk day has passed, ask them to donate to your walker page. Walk pages are open to donations for 60 days after your walk, so you can still make or exceed your goal and you will definitely achieve the goal of raising awareness for mental illness.
In 1990, the U.S. Congress established the first full week of October as Mental Illness Awareness Week in recognition of NAMI’s efforts to raise mental illness awareness.
1“NIMH: The numbers count—Mental disorders in America.” National Institute of Health. Available at www.nimh.nih.gov/publicat/numbers.cfm.
2 U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Mental Health: A Report of the Surgeon General. Rockville, Md., U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Center for Mental Health Services,1999, pp. 408409, 411.