Each year, the first full week in October is Mental Illness Awareness Week. Established by Congress in 1991, this week raises awareness, fights discrimination, and educates the public on mental illnesses.
The theme for this year is “Together for Mental Health,” with a focus on advocating for better care for individuals facing serious mental illness and improving mental health care and crisis response.
There are events throughout the week of October 3–9, 2021:
Tuesday, October 5: National Day of Prayer for Mental Illness Recovery and Understanding
Thursday, October 7: National Depression Screening Day
Saturday, October 9: NAMIWalks United Day of Hope
Sunday, October 10: World Mental Health Day
There are a number of ways to get involved:
Learn: The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) will be sharing personal stories of people living with mental illness each day on their blog.
Share: It’s important to bust the stigma around mental illness. NAMI provides downloadable graphics you can use on your social media to raise public awareness.
Walk: You can take part in NAMIWalks from virtually anywhere. Check out the list of in-person and virtual events.
Screen: Mental Health America offers online screening for many mental health concerns. If you think you or someone you know may be at risk, these can provide a quick way to determine if more in-depth assessment is needed.
One in 5 adults will experience mental illness each year. It is important that we all do our part to promote awareness and understanding this week and throughout the year!
According to a new report from the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), adults with serious mental health problems face an 80 percent unemployment rate, a rate that continues to become more dire over time.
In 2003, 23 percent of those receiving public mental health services had jobs; by 2012, only 17.8 percent did.
The survey reports that most adults with mental illness want to work, and 60 percent can be successful if they have the right support. However, only 1.7 percent of those surveyed received supportive employment services. Study author Sita Diehl says the employment problem has less to do with the workers themselves and more to do with the lack of organizations providing supportive services for individuals with serious mental illnesses. Due to decreases in funding, services have not been as available.
On a related note, people with mental illnesses are now the largest and fastest-growing group to receive Supplemental Social Security Income and Social Security Disability Income.
Unemployment rates varied greatly by state, with 92.6 percent of those receiving public mental health services in Maine being without jobs to 56 percent of those in Wyoming reporting they are without employment.