Mental Illness Awareness WeekAlyssa
From celebrities like Robin Williams to the average Joe, there are millions of people who struggle with disorders like depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and more. Not only are these individuals impacted, but their friends, families, spouses, and even coworkers are also affected. That’s why numerous organizations around the globe come together every year during the first week of October to raise awareness for mental illness, fight discrimination, and provide support to those who have been affected. As a treatment center in Lake Worth that offers mental health treatment, we wanted to share some more information about Mental Illness Awareness Week 2021.
Different Types of Mental Illnesses and Disorders
Mental disorders or mental illnesses are conditions that affect your thinking, mood, emotions, and behavior. While some may be temporary or seasonal, others are chronic. Ultimately, a mental illness is a disorder of the mind that prevents you from relating to others, functioning, and completing day-to-day tasks.
Some common types of mental disorders include
- Anxiety disorders: Conditions in which you have anxiety that doesn’t go away and worsens over time. Anxiety refers to a fear of dread or uneasiness. There are various types of anxiety disorders, including panic disorders and phobias.
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD): A person with OCD suffers from controlling their thoughts (obsessions) and rituals (compulsions) related to those thoughts.
- Depression: This condition is characterized by intense feelings of sadness or emptiness that persist for two weeks or longer. Variations of depression include postpartum depression and seasonal affective disorder.
- Bipolar disorder: This is a mood disorder that causes intense mood swings. Specifically, when a person with bipolar disorder feels extremely “up” or happy, they’re experiencing a manic episode. When they’re feeling extremely “low” or sad, they’re experiencing a depressive episode.
- Eating disorders: These include numerous disorders that involve severe problems related to thoughts about food and eating behaviors. Some common types of eating disorders include bulimia nervosa, anorexia nervosa, and binge-eating disorder.
- Personality disorders: These refer to a group of mental illnesses that involve unhealthy and long-term thought and behavioral patterns. Some common types of personality disorders include borderline personality disorder, narcissistic personality disorder, paranoia, and delusional disorders; schizoid personality disorder; and schizotypal personality disorder.
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD): This is a mental disorder that develops after a person experiences or witnesses a traumatic event. PTSD commonly occurs in people who are unable to heal from experiencing or witnessing traumatic events like combat, natural disaster, murder, sexual assault, or even the loss of a loved one.
- Psychotic disorders: Psychotic disorders are severe mental disorders that cause abnormal thinking, perceptions, and detachment from reality. A person with a psychotic disorder may lose touch with reality and experience delusions and hallucinations. Schizophrenia is a common type of psychotic disorder.
Each of these conditions, although different, can affect a person’s well-being and prevent them from living a full life. Whether it’s anxiety or bipolar disorder treatment that you need, Behavioral Health of the Palm Beaches offers a variety of mental health services that can help you overcome your disorder.
What Is Mental Illness Awareness Week (MIAW)?
Preceded by Suicide Prevention Month, Mental Illness Awareness Week is an annual event held in the first week of October. In 2021, National Mental Illness Awareness Week begins on October 3rd and ends on October 9th. MIAW began in 1990 when Congress officially established a full week of October dedicated to mental health awareness. During MIAW, advocates work together and sponsor activities to educate the public about various mental health disorders.
This year’s Mental Illness Awareness Week is centered on a new campaign, “Together for Mental Health,” during which sponsors and participants will focus on advocating for better mental health care for individuals with serious mental illness (SMI). Every day of MIAW, people all around the nation will come together to raise their voices, share their experiences, and discuss the need for improved crisis response and mental health treatment.
Common Signs of Mental Illness
A great way to participate in Mental Illness Awareness Week is by educating yourself on the signs and symptoms of common mental disorders. Although each disorder is different, some common signs of mental illness include:
- Withdrawing from loved ones or isolating from others
- Excessive worrying or fear
- Confusion or difficulties concentrating or learning
- Extreme mood changes, such as uncontrollable “highs” or “lows”
- Prolonged or intense feelings of anger and irritability
- Avoiding social activities that were once enjoyable
- Difficulties understanding or relating to others
- Changes in eating habits, such as lack of appetite or increased eating and hunger
- Changes in sex drive
- Difficulty perceiving reality or distinguishing reality from fiction (may be caused by delusions or hallucinations)
- Substance abuse
- Inability to perceive one’s changes in feelings (anosognosia)
- Experiencing physical ailments without an obvious cause
- Suicidal thoughts or behavior
- Inability to carry out daily activities or manage stress
If you know how to recognize the warning signs of mental illness, you may be able to help a loved one before it’s too late. Whether you need a treatment plan for anxiety or substance abuse treatment, our rehab in Florida provides different levels of care for patients struggling with their mental health and/or a substance use disorder.
How You Can Participate
The best way to participate in MIAW is to talk to others about mental health, educate yourself, and spread awareness. In addition to the several Mental Illness Awareness Week activities that will be held throughout the week, the event also coincides with other related events like National Day of Prayer for Mental Illness Recovery and Understanding (Tuesday, October 5th), National Depression Screening Day (Thursday, October 7th), NAMI Walks United Day of Hope (Saturday, October 9th), and World Mental Health Day (Sunday, October 10th). Moreover, below are some ways that you can get involved with mental health awareness:
- Challenge your beliefs and rethink what you know and have learned about mental illness. Explore the prejudices and stigmas about mental health and how they’ve affected your opinion on these matters.
- Educate yourself on the different mental disorders and their symptoms.
- Act on advocacy by asking your state representative to co-sponsor an event or bill.
- Support others who are going through difficult times because of their mental illnesses.
- Develop a self-care routine so you can better maintain your mental health. Remember, mental illness can occur in anyone.
- Get screened for mental health conditions if you’re struggling with your mental health.
- Whether it’s monetary support, volunteering your time, or being there for someone, give back to your loved ones and your community.
- WHO – Suicide data