Mental Health Awareness Week takes place every year during the first week of October. It has been a national event since the 1980s, when groups like The National Alliance on Mental Health, The American Psychological Association, and The American Psychiatric Association joined forces to convince state and federal governments about the importance of mental health. President Ronald Reagan, along with Congress, was responsible for nationalizing efforts made to educate and increase awareness of mental health and the tradition has continued to this day.
During the first week of October, advocates and organizations join together to educate and inform the general public about mental illnesses. They provide information for different mental health conditions, give warning signs for when someone might consider harming themselves, and they provide insight to the challenges that a person might face, living with a mental illness on a day-to-day basis. There is also a lot information given to those who might need resources or a support system, either for themselves or for a loved one who is struggling. The objective of Mental Health Awareness Week is for people to start speaking out about mental illnesses in hopes of decreasing, and hopefully eventually eradicating the stigma altogether.
One of the most beneficial things that can be discussed is the importance of mental health screenings. Screenings today are fast and efficient, usually only taking a few minutes to complete. If someone is at risk for having a mental illness, a screening can identify early signs and symptoms. Early intervention is very important. The screening can offer resources, services, and information to those diagnosed as well as for their family and friends. Mental illnesses can be difficult, but identifying it early and understanding the signs and symptoms can lead to recovery.