Even though one in five people live with a mental illness, it can still be a hard subject to talk about. But we want to change that. And, part of getting rid of the stigma behind mental illness is spreading the message that it is common, treatable, and nothing to be ashamed of.
October 3rd through 9th is Mental Illness Awareness Week. Looking for ways to raise awareness? We’ve got you!
Learn More About Mental Health
A great way to start your own advocacy is to keep educating yourself. Don’t know much about mental health or mental illness? Start by reading up on what it’s all about.
Here are some excellent resources to get you started:
- Read our blog posts on mental health topics.
- Mental Health Statistics and Infographics by NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness).
- NAMI also has a variety of educational resources, such as classes and presentations on mental health topics.
- Mental Health America has articles on a variety of mental health topics.
- Terms to Avoid When Talking About Mental Illnesses by HealthPartners
Talk About Your Own Mental Health
Talking about your thoughts and emotions, good or bad, can show others it’s okay to do the same. If you feel comfortable discussing your mental health with someone else, try it! You may find they come to see you as a trustworthy person to talk to about their own mental health. Having honest conversations goes a long way towards defeating stigma.
Be There for Others
If your friend or family member needs someone to talk to, and you are comfortable talking to them, show that you are someone who doesn’t shy away from talking about mental health.
Talk About Mental Health in the Places You Already Are
Stand up for policies or other things that might discriminate against people with a mental illness.
If someone says something offensive towards someone with a mental illness or spreads false information about mental health, speak up. Talking about mental illness at home, at work, or in your social settings can make it less taboo.
You can also work to create safe spaces where people with mental illness feel welcome and included, even if their lives differ from others’ because of their illness.
Be an advocate for mental health in your community. That could look like supporting legislation that helps people with serious mental illness. Mental Health on the Hill Day is an event in the spring where Minnesotans can meet with their legislators and advocate for issues related to mental health. It can also look like researching and supporting political candidates who prioritize funding for mental health programs.
Support an Organization That Saves Lives
Mental Health by the Numbers, National Alliance on Mental Health.