In 1990, the U.S. Congress established the first full week of October as Mental Illness Awareness Week to recognize the efforts of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) to raise mental illness awareness. Since then, mental health advocates across the country have joined together during the first full week of October in sponsoring many kinds of activities.
In the first of a three-part series, UPR's Storee Powell discusses the continuing stigma of mental illness with NAMI Utah's executive director, Rebecca Glathar.
"It is not a choice. It is not that a person is lazy. It's not that they are unrighteous. Some of the misconceptions are 'You need to stop thinking about yourself and pull yourself up by your bootstraps and get over your depression and get back to work.' We know that depression is an illness and treatments are the way for individuals to get better."
October is a great time to stand up against incorrect portrayals of mental illness. Glather gives the advice of "Writing to a haunted house and saying 'please don't depict individuals with mental illness as dangerous or fearful.'"