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Advocates for Mental Health Rally in October

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October sees numerous recognitions of the ongoing gravity coupled with the hope for improvement of mental illnesses.  Mental Illness Awareness Week takes place October 6 through 12, October 7 is National Day without Stigma, the World Federation for Mental Health recognizes World Mental Health Day on October 10, and National Depression Screening Day follows on October 11.

 

Numerous conditions fall under the rubric of mental illnesses, including: depression, bipolar disorder (formerly known as manic depression), schizophrenia, obsessive compulsive disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, panic disorder and other families of symptoms that, according to the World Health Organization, “are generally characterized by some combination of abnormal thoughts, emotions, behavior and relationships with others.”

 

Indeed, mental disorders are among the most common health conditions both in the United States and abroad. Over one-quarter of adult Americans will suffer from a diagnosable mental disorder in any given year, according to the National Institute of Mental Health, a U.S. governmental agency. This translates to over 57 million Americans yearly who are affected by these diseases. Sadly, many of these people do not seek treatment because of the stigma that surrounds these conditions.

 

Leading U.S. advocacy organizations, such as the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), and Mental Health America, work persistently to drive home the messages that mental illnesses are no-fault diseases and that, with proper treatment, most people suffering from these conditions and their loved ones can lead normal lives.