In the United States, the first full week of October is Mental Illness Awareness Week. Many organizations participate in this week-long effort to promote education and destigmatization around mental illness. Here are some ways that you can prepare and get involved.
1. Learn What Mental Illness Awareness Week Is
What of the best ways you can prepare yourself for mental health week is to find out what it actually is! This week is an opportunity for mental health advocates and organizations across the U.S. to sponsor events that promote community outreach and public education around mental health. The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) provides detailed information about the week each year including its theme, some educational materials, how to get involved and events in your community.
2. Become Familiar With Common Mental Health Issues
One of the main reasons why Mental Illness Awareness Week exists is to educate people on the realities of mental wellbeing and mental illnesses. With that in mind, another excellent way that you can prepare for Mental Illness Awareness Week is by starting to educate yourself on mental health. Talk to a physician or counsellor about resources, or look online at reputable sites. NAMI and Teen Rehab are great places to start.
3. Find Events Near You
Now that you know what Mental Illness Awareness Week is and a little more about mental health itself, it’s time to find ways that you can get involved! The week is usually packed full of events like charity runs, educational seminars, art events or even concerts, so plan ahead and find out what’s happening in your area. Talk to local mental health organizations or community centers or even do a quick search online to find out which local events you can attend.
4. Get Involved in Social Media
Social media can be a powerful tool for spreading awareness and it’s an excellent way to let others know about Mental Illness Awareness Week too. Are there events in your area? Talk about it online or even invite friends and family members to join you. You can also share some resources to help spread the education and awareness that you’re gaining. Additionally, during Mental Illness Awareness Week itself, NAMI often has a hashtag to go along with their theme. Consider using this hashtag in your posts to connect to the greater cause and social media campaign.
5. Volunteer For or Donate to a Participating Organization
Finally, as you gear up for Mental Illness Awareness Week, consider finding ways to actively participate either by volunteering to donating to an organization. Those events that are in your area? Contact the running organization directly to see if they need any assistance. Pitching in is a great way to participate as a whole family too, and to teach your kids the value of giving back.
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