Mental Illness Awareness Week 2022: What Is It About?
What Is Mental Illness Awareness Week?
Mental Illness Awareness Week is an annual national campaign dedicated to spreading information, dispelling myths, and providing education about mental illness while reducing stigma, promoting acceptance and respect, and advocating for equitable treatment for people with mental illness. Established in the U.S. in 1990, this event takes place during the first full week of October each year, working to prevent shame and stigmas from preventing people from seeking the mental health treatments they need.
This year, for Mental Illness Awareness Week 2022, the theme is “What I Wish I Had Known,” focusing on the power of lived experience. Every day in the week will amplify real people’s experiences in living with mental illness, focusing on the parts of their recovery they wish they had learned sooner. The topics include:
- What I wish I’d known about stigma (Oct 3)
- What I wish I’d known about medication (Oct 4)
- What I wish I’d known about therapy (Oct 5)
- What I wish I’d known about disclosing (Oct 6)
- What I wish I’d known about caregiving (Oct 7)
These days coincide with those of similar campaigns in the United States including National Depression Screening Day (Oct 6), National Day Without Stigma (Oct 9), and world mental health day (Oct 10), creating space for a conversation surrounding these issues that are often silenced or hidden behind closed doors.
Mental illness affects everybody, not only the person suffering from the mental health disorder, and ever since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the number of people who need support has grown to over 50 million Americans, with approximately half not receiving proper treatment because of issues like:
- Embarrassment for being unable to control their impulses or emotions
- Social phobia or lack of personal care makes them unwilling or unable to seek help
- Not knowing where to find resources to help them or a lack of care available in their area
- Not receiving a proper diagnosis due to stereotyping, stigmas, or lack of doctor knowledge
- Feeling a stigma around asking for help from peers, family, or the workplace
Learning about the individual impacts that mental illness has on individuals, their families and friends, their coworkers, and others in the community will help challenge preconceived stereotypes and false information, fight discrimination, and help people who need mental health care get the help they need. Educating ourselves, spreading awareness, and being an ally, while learning what signs to look for and how to access treatment are all important ways to be active in a change in how we see and talk about mental health issues in society, in the workplace, and in government and healthcare policies.
The Connection Between Mental Illness and Addiction
According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), nearly half of the people diagnosed with mental health issues also have a substance use disorder or have reported abusing drugs and alcohol. The Journal of the American Medical Association has also recently published figures stating that 53% of drug addicts and 37% of alcoholics have at least one mental illness. These issues are often deeply interconnected, affecting one another and stemming from the same underlying issues. Some of the theorized reasons that these are often co-occurring disorders include:
- Drug and alcohol abuse is often a way to deal with the symptoms of mental illness. People often turn to substance abuse to feel more comfortable, happier, or euphoric, although these feelings are fleeting and artificial and lead to serious health conditions and addiction
- Substance use disorders and mental health disorders share common risk factors like experiencing trauma or high levels of stress, genetic predispositions, brain chemical imbalance, and environmental factors
- Using drugs or alcohol when you have a mental health disorder may make more serious brain changes that can result in serious addiction
- Alcohol and drug abuse can bring out underlying mental health disorders that may have remained latent otherwise, and it can also make you forget (or be unwilling) to take psychiatric medications or react in adverse ways to your medications
Common Co-Occurring Disorders
Many different types of mental illness are associated with substance use disorders, affecting everyone differently. Some of the most common co-occurring disorders alongside drug and alcohol abuse are:
- Mood disorders like depression and bipolar disorder
- Personality disorders like borderline personality disorder, antisocial personality disorder, narcissistic personality disorder, etc.
- Binge eating disorder, anorexia nervosa, and bulimia nervosa
- Anxiety disorders like generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, social anxiety disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, etc.
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
- Neurodevelopment disorders like attention deficit hyperactivity disorder
- Psychotic disorders like schizophrenia, delusional disorder, schizoaffective disorder, etc.
Learn about anger management treatment in addiction treatment:
How to Get Involved in Mental Illness Awareness Week
Some of the best ways to get involved in this year’s Mental Illness Awareness Week (MIAW 2022) include:
- Purchasing the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) book titled “You Are Not Alone.” Authored by Dr. Ken Duckworth, this guidebook provides real-life stories from people with mental illness and their caregivers, covering how and where to find help and exploring topics on the intersection between culture and mental health in the USA.
- Watch and share the Mental Illness Awareness Week video series, available at the NAMI website.
- These videos with titles like “What I Wish People Knew About Anxiety” and “What I Wish People
- Knew About Borderline Personality Disorder” are educational and puts a personal spin on an important topic
- Read and share blogs and personal stories concerning mental illness, medications, therapy, wellness, and other similar topics. Amplifying the voices of those who are often swept under the rug will help reduce stigma and help others feel less alone
- Promote the NAMI HelpLine, a free nationwide peer support service that provides support and referrals to people dealing with mental health issues. Monday through Friday, from 10 am to 10 pm ET, at 1-800-950-NAMI (6264). You can also text “HelpLine” to 62640 or email email@example.com if making a phone call is too difficult
If you own a business, consider sponsoring community outreach events and public education concerning mental illness, including festivals, art events, educational lectures, benefits, or advertising campaigns.
Muse Treatment Center Resources for Mental Health in Los Angeles
At the Muse Treatment Center, we treat substance use disorders and mental health disorders. People in the Los Angeles area can contact our team to access treatments and programs like:
- Behavioral therapy
- Group therapy and process groups
- Individual therapy
- Art therapy
- Recreational therapy
- Nutrition and physical fitness counseling
- Educational lectures
- Family therapy
- Life skills programs
- Spirituality and/or 12-step programs like Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous
- Relapse prevention education
We provide a caring and non-judgmental place for people to come when they need a safe medical detox program, inpatient and outpatient rehabilitation, and a trauma-informed integrated dual diagnosis treatment plan for co-occurring conditions like mental illness or PTSD. We treat all issues simultaneously and allow treatment providers to address the interactions between both issues in a collaborative healing environment.
Your care will be tailored to best suit your unique needs, with a good balance between evidence-based therapy and holistic treatments, physical activity, education, and medical care, as you work toward building a healthy mindset and healing relationships with loved ones. Please call us at (800) 426-1818 today if you want to know more about our dual diagnosis programs, verify insurance coverage, or are curious about mental illness treatments in the Los Angeles California area. We can help you become the sober person you want to be and allow you to get your mental health under control so you can live a happier, healthier life.