07 Oct Mental Illness Awareness Week
This week, October 4-11, 2015, is Mental Illness Awareness Week. Mental Illness Awareness Week, which takes place during the first full week in October, is a week dedicated to bringing awareness to issues related to mental illness. This year marks the 25th year for Mental Illness Awareness Week in the United States.
Since the first Mental Illness Awareness Week that took place in 1990, the understanding of mental illness has changed immensely. In Ohio, two years before the first Mental Illness Awareness Week took place, the Mental Health Act of 1988 was established and it encouraged the deinstitutionalization of individuals with mental illness. The emphasis went from hospitalizing those who needed care to providing care in community settings. This methodology ultimately reduced the population of the state hospitals by approximately 2,500 individuals. Today, most services are still provided outside of an institutional setting and many physical healthcare providers understand the importance of integrating behavioral health services with other primary healthcare services.
The use of medications as part of treatment has also become more common through time. On the market today are prescription medications that work to dial down symptoms that an individual with a mental illness may experience. These medications are prescribed by doctors at much higher rates than what were prescribed in 1990 and fortunately the rate of recovery from most mental illnesses has become quite high.
Stigma has been a large barrier for mental health awareness although it has decreased through time. Advocates have been working for years now to build awareness and understanding about the stigma connected to mental illness, which is a huge component to decreasing the impact and severity stigma can have on an individual. A large contributor to stigma reduction is individuals in recovery sharing their life experiences. Movements such as Recovery Is Beautiful are focused on eliminating the stigma associated with mental illness and addiction. The Recovery Is Beautiful movement is all about empowering individuals in their recovery by offering hopeful and positive stories of recovery.
While strides have been made, there is still work to be done! The need to advocate for mental illness and addiction services and supports is just as great as it was during the inception of Mental Illness Awareness Week. Please join Recovery Is Beautiful as we continue to promote the message that Treatment Works, People Recover, and Recovery Is Beautiful.