October is an active month for promoting public awareness of psychiatric illnesses and social programs that offer hope to those affected by mental illness. Among the national initiatives:
Mental Illness Awareness Week and National Depression Screening Day®
Mental Illness Awareness Week (MIAW) is from October 6 to 12, 2013, and National Depression Screening Day® (NDSD) takes place on October 10.
According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), awareness is an opportunity to learn more about serious mental illnesses such as major depression, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia. According to NAMI:
•One in four adults experiences a mental health problem in any given year
•One in five young people age 13 to 18 years experience mental illness
•About 42 million Americans live with anxiety disorders, including OCD and PTSD
•Approximately 15 million live with major depression
•Bipolar disorder is present in approximately 6 million persons
•About 2.6 million live with schizophrenia
•Less than one-third of adults and one-half of children with a diagnosed illness receive treatment
Unfortunately, there are long delays—sometimes decades—between the first appearance of symptoms and when people get help. Information about specific illnesses, diagnosis, and treatment options is available at www.nami.org.
An annual initiative held during MIAW, NDSD is held to raise awareness and screen people for depression and related mood and anxiety disorders. An anonymous depression screening can be found on the Screening for Mental Health (SMH) website. SMH provides the public with education, screening, and treatment resources for universities, the military, businesses, and other organizations.
International OCD Awareness Week
OCD can be a debilitating disorder, but treatment can help (see a related video by H. Blair Simpson, MD, PhD). IOCDA Week takes place from October 14 to 20, 2013. More information and expert commentary can be found here.
ADHD Awareness Month (and Week)
October is ADHD Awareness Month and ADHD Awareness Week takes place from October 13 through 19, with an emphasis on ADHD symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment information for adults and children. Information can be found here.
National Bullying Prevention Month
The goal of National Bullying Prevention Month is to help communities and schools work together to stop bullying and cyberbullying.
National Domestic Violence Month
According to the Coalition Against Domestic Violence website, Domestic Violence Awareness Month connects domestic abuse advocates across the US working to end intimate partner violence. The Day of Unity (October 1) soon became a special week when a range of activities were conducted at the local, state, and national levels. Information can be found here.