Community outreach activities serve to build mental health awareness within our communities about mental illnesses and to promote the need to ensure those who need help have access to the support, acceptance, and resources they deserve
Millions of American’s lives are impacted daily by mental health conditions. As a way to show support for these individuals, NAMI participates in several annual mental health awareness events. Participating in a local or national NAMI event is a great way for you to help increase your community's understanding of the complexity of mental illness. Through these events we can expel myths, educate the public and show support for the many people affected by mental health that are working to improve their lives. Throughout the year we fight stigma, provide support, educate the public and advocate for equal care. Our movement grows stronger each year. You can make a difference by raising awareness on an individual basis, as part of a small group or part of a community effort . In either case, taking action to raise awareness of mental health conditions can break down obstacles and improve the chance of recovery.
NAMI participates in the following national mental health awareness campaigns each year:
Mental Health Awareness Month
Its purpose is to raise awareness and educate the public about: mental illnesses, such as depression, schizophrenia, and bipolar disorder; the realities of living with these conditions; and strategies for attaining mental health and wellness. It also aims to draw attention to suicide, which can be precipitated by some mental illnesses. Additionally, Mental Health Awareness Month strives to reduce the negative attitudes and misconceptions that surround mental illnesses. The month came about by presidential proclamation. During Mental Health Awareness Month, NAMI joins the mental health community to reaffirm our commitment to building our understanding of mental illness, increasing access to treatment and ensuring those who are struggling to know they are not alone.
Children’s Mental Health Awareness (May 3-9)
National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day seeks to raise awareness about the importance of children’s mental health and to show that positive mental health is essential to a child’s healthy development from birth. Awareness Day 2017’s national focus is on the importance of integrating behavioral health and primary care for children, youth, and young adults with mental and/or substance use disorders. The 2017 national theme is “Partnering for Help and Hope.”
NAMI joins communities around the country in raising awareness about the mental health needs of America’s youngest citizens. It is a week to focus on children and youth living with mental illness and to come together to advocate for a full array of effective services and supports for children affected by mental illness.
National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month
In 2008, the US House of Representatives designated July as National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month. This resolution was passed with bipartisan support. The goals of the campaign:
Improve access to mental health treatment and services
Promote public awareness of mental illness
Enhance public awareness of mental illness and mental illness among minorities
This movement could not have been successful without the strong and passionate work of Bebe Moore Campbell, co-founder of NAMI Urban Los Angeles, author, advocate and national spokesperson. Campbell relentlessly advocated for mental health education and support among individuals of diverse communities. She passed in 2016.
Suicide Prevention Awareness Month
September is Suicide Prevention Awareness Month and Sept. 10 is designated as World Suicide Prevention Day. National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month was created with the goal of educating the public on how to identify those who are struggling, how to talk about suicide without increasing the risk of harm, and to know provide information on available community resources. According to the CDC, suicide is the 10th leading cause of death among adults in the U.S. and the 2nd leading cause of death among people aged 10-24.
Mental Illness Awareness Week
In 1990, the U.S. Congress established the first full week of October as Mental Illness Awareness Week (MIAW) in recognition of NAMI's efforts to raise mental illness awareness. Since then, mental health advocates across the country have joined with others in their communities to sponsor activities, large or small, for public education about mental illness.
Mental Health Week aims to activate, educate and engage communities about mental health, through a week of events across including seminars and school, church and civic outreach activities,
Efforts during Mental Illness Awareness week are organized by dedicated NAMI volunteers committed to promoting mental health wellness, increasing knowledge about mental health and mental illness and eliminating the stigma surrounding mental illness.