October 3-9 is Mental Illness Awareness Week, a focused opportunity for Spectrum Health and our peer organizations to use our collective influence to educate our communities about the prevalence of mental illness.
Serious mental illness (SMI) affects one in 20 adults in the U.S. yet only two thirds of these people seek treatment, and one in six youth experience a mental health disorder, too. Mental illness crosses gender, age, race: no one is immune. Mental health and physical health go hand in hand and are equal in importance in any person’s ability to live a fulfilled, successful life.
While there is still a prevailing stigma that paints mental illness as something to be feared, there is a shift in perception. Since 1990, when Congress officially declared the first full week of October as Mental Illness Awareness Week, more celebrities, sports stars, and other people of influence have been more forthright about publicly sharing their diagnosis and treatment. Behavioral health agencies have marketed their services more prominently as beacons of help and hope. Pop culture continues to evolve its depiction of mental illness plotlines to focus on treatment and recovery. The Tony Award-winning Broadway musical Dear Evan Hansen (also a young adult novel and a recently released feature film) is just one example of how characters with mental illness diagnoses interact, manage their challenges, and relate to each other in sometimes surprising ways. Give a listen to “The Anonymous Ones,” specifically written for the movie.
During this week, watch for related posts on Spectrum Health’s social media platforms. As always, our team is here to help, any day, any way.