Reading time: 2 min

Mental Illness Awareness Week 2019 is underway; it’s an opportunity to take part in the movement to end the stigma of addiction and mental health disorders. Each year, the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) encourages every American to show more compassion for those suffering in silence.

Stigma forces people to think it is not alright to discuss their mental health issues. The result can be deadly. When men and women can’t be open, then they cannot seek assistance. The road to recovery requires support, and shame stands in the way of people seeking help.

Each American has a vested interest in ensuring that more people seek treatment for mental health conditions. One in five U.S. adults experience mental illness each year; one in 25 U.S. adults experience severe mental illness yearly.

Mental illness is an epidemic; millions of individuals live with the reality of depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, and other forms of debilitating mental disease. Symptoms can make it impossible to function normally in society. People’s issues are compounded by the fact that they are treated differently than others.

When mental illness is left untreated, again the result is often deadly. Thankfully, even the most severely ill individuals can recover with guidance and ongoing support from their family members and their community.

Those who are already working programs of recovery and managing their symptoms through therapy and medication can be beacons of hope for millions more. NAMI is asking men and women in recovery to help with their cause and share their stories.

Stories of Hope during Mental Illness Awareness Week

mental illness

During Suicide Prevention Awareness Month (September), we informed our readers about two useful forums. You Are Not Alone and OK2Talk provides a platform for individuals in recovery to share their experience with mental health disorders.

NAMI invites people in recovery to talk about what has helped them and what has not. When people share, they remind those still suffering that they are not alone and to hold onto hope. If you did not have an opportunity to do so last month, perhaps you will find the time this week to help the movement and effect change.

Sharing your story can take several forms:

  • Prose/poetry
  • Song lyrics
  • Inspirational quotes
  • Drawings
  • Photos
  • Videos

Whichever way you feel comfortable sharing is the course to take. Your words and artwork will be presented online anonymously. NAMI writes:

“You have an authentic voice. You can make a difference for yourself and others by sharing your experiences and perspective. What has helped? What hasn’t? What has been most discouraging about your condition? What has given you hope? There are all sorts of things you know that other people want to know—you are not alone. Let them know that they aren’t either.” 

Stigma can also be combated by sharing valuable information about mental illness on social media. The organization has developed awareness messaging and infographics to help spread the word about treatment and recovery.

Orange County Addiction Treatment

Please reach out to Hope By The Sea if you are battling addiction and co-occurring mental illness. We offer many evidence-based treatment programs that can help you or a loved one find recovery. Leading a fulfilling and productive life is possible for anyone who needs it. Mental Illness Awareness Week can be the ideal time to break the cycle and begin healing.