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Mental Illness Awareness Week is the first full week of October. This year, we ask our volunteers what mental illness awareness means to them. Heres 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 were not only acknowledging that mental health is important, but were 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.