In 1990, the U.S. Congress established the first week of October as "Mental Illness Awareness Week" (MIAW) in recognition of NAMI's efforts to raise mental illness awareness. "Bipolar Disorder Awareness Day" (BDAD) is held each year on the Thursday of MIAW.
MIAW and BDAD are NAMI's premiere public awareness and public education campaigns. They link the organization's over 1,100 local affiliates across the country.
MIAW has become a tradition in NAMI. It presents an opportunity for all three levels of NAMI--national, state, and local--to work together in communities across the country to achieve the NAMI mission through outreach, education, and advocacy.
In terms of both funds and education, mental health issues are far from being high on the priority list of every state in the union, if this 2006 report from NAMI (the National Alliance on Mental Illness) is any indication.
Actually, Ohio is graded as one of the best. Yay us. But we still only got a B. Nobody got an A.
May this week be a week of prayer, education, and outreach regarding this frequently overlooked, yet very important issue that affects millions of people.