This year’s national Mental Illness Awareness Week (MIAW) is going to be on: October 7-13, 2007, so be looking in your local newspapers and listen on your radio stations for your own town or city’s activities planned around the Mental Illness Awareness Week.

As far as background goes, I got the following information for you from the NAMI website:

Since 1990, mental health advocates across the country have joined together during the first week of October to celebrate MIAW.

What is Mental Illness Awareness Week?

Established in 1990 by Congress, the first week of October is designated as 'Mental Illness Awareness Week' (MIAW) in Recognition of NAMI’s efforts to raise mental illness awareness.

[NOTE: NAMI stands for National Alliance on Mental Illness.]

'Bipolar Disorder Awareness Day' (BDAD) is held each year on the Thursday of MIAW --NOTE: This year will be on October 11th— to encourage further understanding and promote early intervention and treatment for this mental illness.

MIAW and BDAD are NAMI’s premiere public awareness and public education campaigns that link the organization nationally to the organization’s over 1100 local affiliates across the country.

Over the past 16 years, MIAW has become a tradition in NAMI. It presents an opportunity for all three levels of NAMI—national, state, and local— to work together in communities across the country in meeting the NAMI mission through a variety of outreach, educational, and advocacy efforts.

What is Bipolar Awareness Day?

Bipolar Disorder Awareness Day was created by NAMI and Abbott Laboratories to increase awareness of bipolar disorder, promote early detection impact on the 2.3 million Americans presently affected by the disorder.

BDAD activities focus on encouraging the community to:

  • Learn more about the symptoms of bipolar disorder and mental illness and understand its impact on society.
  • Participate in a free mental health screening held in many communities.
  • Reach out to individuals suffering from bipolar disorder or mental illness.
  • Encourage individuals with bipolar disorder to seek treatment.

I encourage you to find out what your own community is going to do for Bipolar Disorder Awareness Day on October 11th, and see what you can do to help spread the word!

To find out more about how you can help in your own community, contact your local NAMI office. If you don’t have a local office, contact the national office online at: www.nami.org.

I hope you get involved!