NAMI observes Mental Illness Awareness Week
Posted: October 9, 2012
Star staff report
Winchester — Mental Illness Awareness Week is being observed this week.
A event will be held today, the National Day of Prayer for Mental Illness Recovery and Understanding. There will be a noon observance in the Lord Fairfax Room of the War Memorial Building in Jim Barnett Park. It is open to the public.
Many people in the community are directly affected by mental illness, said Connie Nutter, president of National Alliance on Mental Illness Winchester. “The good news is that treatment does work and recovery is possible.”
Mental illnesses are medical illnesses with one in four adults experiences a mental health problem in any given year. One in 17 lives with serious, chronic illness.
On average, people living with serious mental illness live 25 years less than the rest of the population. One reason is that less than a third of adults and less than a half of children with a diagnosed illness receive treatment.
The U.S. Surgeon General has reported that stigma is a major barrier to people seeking help when they need it, Nutter said. “That’s why MIAW is so important. We want people to understand mental illness and join a dialogue in our community. The more people know, the better they can help themselves or help their loved ones get the help and support they need.”
When mental health care isn’t available in a community, the results often are lost jobs and careers, broken families, more homelessness, more welfare and much more expensive costs for hospital emergency rooms, nursing homes, schools, police and even courts, jails and prisons.
Learn more about mental illness support, education and advocacy at nami.org.