Mental Illness Awareness Week -- October 6-12, 1996
Each year since 1983, in the United States the first full week in October has been observed as Mental Illness Awareness Week (MIAW). It was originally established by Congressional Resolution. To obtain this legislation, organizations urged their senators and representatives, by phone and letter, to co-sponsor MIAW resolutions. The work is hard and continuous.
But it is only part of the work. During the Week, literally tens of thousands of dedicated mental health care professionals, treatment facilities, affiliates of the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill (NAMI), chapters of the National Depressive and Manic-Depressive Association, members of the American Psychiatric Association, affiliates of the National Mental Health Association, local Mental Health Associations, civic groups, officials, religious organizations, and concerned citizens join in a true grassroots campaign to bring information, hope and treatment to millions. They urge state and local legislators to pass their own MIAW recognitions and they hold mental health fairs and candlelight vigils, produce special television programs, screen public education films and give countless speeches and presentations before classrooms, PTAs, local government and civic leaders and groups.
What began as an effort to increase Congressional awareness has become a nationwide week long observance. Judging by the mounting interest during each year, MIAW is an effort that will continue.
Events: October 6 - 12, 1996 This year's Mental Illness Awareness Week's theme is "Open Your Mind: Mental Illnesses Are Brain Disorders." The theme emphasizes mental illnesses are physical illnesses and highlights the biology of brain disorders in order to reduce the stigma and discrimination facing people with mental illnesses. The artwork and slogan reflect NAMI's Campaign to End Discrimination.
NAMI members across the country will be organizing rallys, candlelight vigils, educational forums, and awareness events. Each affiliate has received a NAMI Mental Illness Awareness Week kit. Please contact your local affiliate/state AMI to become involved in Mental Illness Awareness Week activities.
Mental Illness Awareness Week has suggested topics for each day and a more detailed agenda:
Sunday - "Open Your Mind" Candlelight Vigil
Monday - Manic-Depressive Illness (Bipolar Disorder)
Tuesday - Schizophrenia
Wednesday - Latest Research on Brain Disorders
Thursday - Clinical Depression
Friday - Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder / Panic Disorder
Saturday - Children's Disorders
Good luck. Together we ARE making a difference.
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