This week, October 1 through October 7, is Mental Illness Awareness Week (MIAW).
In 1990, Congress officially established the first full week of October in recognition of efforts by the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) to raise mental illness awareness. Since then, each year advocates have worked together to sponsor activities, large or small, to educate the public about mental illness, fight discrimination, and provide support.
NAMI, which offers support groups through 49 state organizations, reports that although one in five adults in the United States lives with a mental illness, fewer than half receive the care they need.
Here at LifeLong, providers incorporate mental health awareness into every patient’s primary care visit by asking questions to screen for anxiety, depression, and substance use. And our behavioral health professionals know they need to address trauma and sometimes the stigma surrounding seeking counseling and medication.
“I have anxiety as well as panic attacks and depression,” says Diane Shwartz, who is in regular counseling at LifeLong. “And it’s really hard to find help, and to find any kind of resources. So, having somebody to talk to here, it’s been helping me a lot, knowing that if you need to call somebody, you can call LifeLong.”