National Mental Health Awareness Week

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This isn’t something related to running, music, or video games, but it is something I consider very important – the recognition of mental illness as a very real problem. And it is one that is way too often left untreated – sometimes leading people to lead very unhappy lives and even to end their own lives.

NAMI is the National Alliance on Mental Illness, and they have designated October 6 – 12 as National Mental Health Awareness Week (Thanks to Megan for pointing this out!). What is the purpose? To raise awareness of mental illness, which impact about 1 in 4 Americans – and yet 60% go untreated.

Sadly there is still a stigma surrounding mental illness and treatments. Rather than looking at it in the same way as getting physical therapy for joint and muscle issues, or medical treatments for chronic medical issues, mental illnesses still remain something many want to keep hidden and would rather ignore and not treat.

The reality is that untreated mental illness can become a real problem to teh person suffering as well as those around them.

The NAMI site lists the following mental illnesses:
– Anxiety Disorders
– Autism Spectrum Disorders
– Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADD/ADHD)
– Bipolar Disorder
– Borderline Personality Disorder
– Depression
– Dissociative Disorders
– Dual Diagnosis: Substance Abuse and Mental Illness
– Eating Disorders
– Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
– Panic Disorder
– Posttraumatic Stress Disorder
– Schizoaffective Disorder
– Schizophrenia
– Seasonal Affective Disorder
– Tourette’s Syndrome

There are a load of resources available at the NAMI site, but the biggest thing to remember is simple:

Mental illnesses are illnessed – and we need to encourage people suffering from them to seek help and treatment. Most of these are never ‘cured’, but rather people learn to cope with them and function from day to day.

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