Mental Illness Awareness Week

Mental Illness Awareness Week was created in 1990 to educate people on various mental illnesses and to bring together the community. This week takes place from Oct. 3 to Oct. 9, 2021, since it is always the first week of October. The mental illnesses most commonly addressed are bipolar disorder, schizophrenia and major depressive disorder. 

The activities held are from the National Alliance on Mental Illness. Their website is filled with educational videos, blogs, articles and real-time support. They advocate for more communities to join and share the stories of people with mental illnesses.

It is important to educate people on various mental illnesses because it promotes empathy and unity to better understand these problems. In 2017, almost one out of five adults in the U.S. was recorded to have a mental disease. There may also be even more undocumented cases. 

These mental illnesses can also have a detrimental effect on one’s self esteem and confidence. Many mentally ill people are viewed differently from “normal” people and are singled out for it. 

However, Masha Prischinkya (12), says, “You’re not alone. There are so many others who have experienced the same thing and will help you through it.” It is important to bring positivity and kindness everywhere: at school, home and even to strangers. Even the smallest amount of compassion can change a person’s life. 

As previously mentioned, the mental illnesses that are primarily focused on are bipolar disorder, schizophrenia and depression. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, people who suffer from bipolar disorder experience dramatic shifts in their mood, energy and the ability to think clearly. They go through high and low moods: mania and depression. People can have frequent distinct mood shifts or sometimes stay in a certain mood for years on end. 

Schizophrenia causes people to have hallucinations and delusions, as well as negatively impacting their abilities and relationships with others. They see, hear or smell things that most people can’t, as well as voices in their heads and difficulty concentrating in their life. 

Many mental illnesses may be genetic, but a lot of them also stem from drug use. These substances can transform a perfectly healthy person into one with several health and mental issues. For these reasons schools, parents and teachers constantly discourage its abuse. 

Mental Illness Awareness Week is a time where people can reflect how fortunate they are and help others who need it. Gabby Mansour (10) advises people to “be understanding. Don’t blame the person who has the mental disease, just try to help them.”