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What Does Mental Illness Awareness Mean To You?

Mental Illness Awareness Week is the first full week of October. This year, we ask our volunteers what mental illness awareness means to them. Here’s what they had to say:

1. “Mental Illness Awareness means recognizing that mental illness is as real as any physical illness.” – Clarice Andrade 

2. “It means recognizing that mental illness affects not only the individual, but everyone from friends and families to entire communities, no matter how big or small.” – Whitney Parrish 

3. “It means educating people on what mental illness means, how to prevent it, and to remove the stigma about it.” – Faith Morante 

4. “To be sensitive and knowledgeable about brain diseases. To advocate for mental health by being against stigma and prejudice.” – Linda Allen 

5. “Mental illness awareness means bringing down the walls of stigma by sharing our experiences, stories, and truths. It means educating others on what mental illness REALLY is, and helping those with illnesses know they are not alone.” – Lyndsay Marvin 

6. “Mental health awareness means that we’re not only acknowledging that mental health is important, but we’re talking about it, putting it out there so that people who feel too much can get the help they need too.” – Jessica Hull 

7. "Awareness is the acceptance and understanding of something, in part or whole. It means learning about mental illness and being familiar with the vernacular of the movement.  It means accepting the medical nature of it and not asking that people 'get over it,' when the solution is much more complex. At its finest, awareness also involves advocacy." –  Liz Wilson

8. “It means teaching others about what it really means to have a mental illness. It's more than what you see on the news and how it's portrayed in the media.” – Sarah DeArmond

9. “Mental illness awareness for me is being comfortable talking about my mental health without the fear of being judged for it. It's less stigma and less hatred towards those with mental illness.” – Briana Hedgepeth

10. “It means the knowledge that mental disorders are not illusions formed by one's brain due to boredom or lack of personality. It means the understanding of the fact that depression is difficult to conquer. It means the ability to appreciate the effort of living and caring. It means all of those things and better yet it means the difficulty of faking a smile and going through the day without complaining.” – Zeina Adel

11. “Educating people to reduce stigma and improve quality of life for those with mental illness and their families.” – Jessi Lepine

12. “I have always believed the meaning of stigma is the lack of understanding of the unknown. With making it more aware will lessen the fear people have of Mental Health Diseases.” – Jan McAvoy Roga

13. “It means to educate myself to the extent that I can separate the person from the illness.” – Aarti Girdhar

14. “Mental illness awareness means acceptance and love rather than judgement and shame; it means an end to the stigma and the beginning of hope.” – Annie Slease

This article was written by our Advice and Support Community, a group of about 50 volunteers who contribute their advice based on their experience living with or caring for someone with bipolar disorder.

International Bipolar Foundation is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read or received from the International Bipolar Foundation.


Being aware of mental illness means recognizing how it can be just as lethal as medical illnesses.

Many forms of it.

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I struggle all the time with my bipolar I mainly struggle with downs not many highs Pam Smith

I have grand mal temporal lobe epilepsy, brain absence. After 15 years of intense nerve activity, caused by anti depressant medication. I have a very conscious control of my feelings & thoughts, and now understand how physical my condition is. Being very well controlled by my physical fitness, raising my natural highs, relaxing my body, taking the psychological stresses away from thoughts, giving accurate understanding that my heart & soul is where you raise the questions & find the answers to life. This has taken the problems I had with my epilepsy to nothing. And I can see that physical fitness is going to create alot of positive feelings for mental health.

you cant describe cannot be put into can try to understand but you dont know how much it hurts.All you can do is be there

It is an essential part of understanding, to realize the importance in yourself and surroundings as well.

It’s been a year since I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder, after a manic attack land me in the hospital.
Being in the hospital ( psychiatric unit ) it’s nothing like what you see on tv.
This mental awareness health month I am giving back by buying markers, crayons, coloring books, word puzzle books, board games, books, pant and other goodies to the hospital where I was hospitalized.

I always liked drawing a simple paper and pencil would be the perfect outlet to let out all my thoughts and emotions out.

A simple pencil can make a difference you can make a huge one.

Let’s all celebrate mental awareness month. :)

I am bipolar and suffer from depression and wish people would try to understand and not make fun of people like me. I take medicine every day and live a normal life. I feel that if mental health care would be more affordable people would probably get assistance. I have a great idea...why don't we all get together and get our senators and representatives involved.... we need a voice in Washington..

I need help coz now im suffering depression.what should i do?

My daughter suffers with paranoid schizophrenia right now she has been seen on the street with nothing on but a bra and panties on Market Street in Harrisburg she was at a hospital called Roxbury Hospital which failed communication with help Ministry to give her a voucher for a place to stay that left her back out on the street she has a case manager from CMU in Pennsylvania which isn't doing nothing nothing I've called Crisis Intervention they said they can't do anything that she has to want help my daughter is not in her right mind to make decisions so therefore they just left her on the street she has two beautiful children she knows the way is God she was seeing crying in front of a church saying praise God praise God with no clothes on that was her way of crying out for help I've reached out to so many people every door I go is closed the only door is open is Jesus Christ

how to control emotion

I'm 33 years old and spent the last 19 years being diagnosed back and forth with Borderline Personality Disorder and Bipolar Disorder. I found out that it can be difficult sometimes to diagnose between the two. Then I was told I have both. Where can I find information about both together instead of each separately?

It's important for me to be educated for my children who are each suffering with at least one of my other disorders and my son has had a mood disorder since he was 7. Important for myself too and also the rest of the family.

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