Monday, October 04, 2010

October Causes

There are a couple causes highlighted in October that I always like to remind people about.

First off, we're right at the beginning of Mental Illness Awareness Week:
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. Since 1990, mental health advocates across the country have joined together during the first full week of October to celebrate.

MIAW has become a NAMI tradition. It presents an opportunity to all NAMI state organizations and affiliates across the country to work together in communities to achieve the NAMI mission through outreach, education and advocacy.

This year’s MIAW coincides with election season. The sample press release, letter to editors and op-ed article included below therefore incorporate NAMI’s “Mental Health Gets My Vote” election theme in addition to the general MIAW theme: “Changing Attitudes, Changing Lives.” Additional information about non-partisan election activity is at

The MIAW Idea Book below suggests many activities that can be incorporated into planning, regardless of whether or not the election theme is included. Stickers, posters and a web banner to use on websites or in documents are available for download in English and Spanish.

The National Day of Prayer for Mental Illness Recovery and Understanding is Tuesday, Oct. 5, 2010. Special resources for outreach to faith communities also can be downloaded.

Beginning Oct. 1, PBS television stations in some communities will begin airing the documentary Unlisted: A Story of Schizophrenia, which was screened at the 2010 NAMI national convention. The film also can be used a tool for MIAW or later public education efforts. Please check its website for more information.

Printed versions of the English poster and stickers are available in the NAMI bookstore separately and in a combination pack.

Start your MIAW preparation now and begin changing attitudes, changing lives!
Click on the link to find all the information that this article mentions. Mental illness is incredibly misunderstood, stigmatized, and swept under the rug in our society. Educate yourself.

Second, the entire month of October is Fair Trade Month:
Fair Trade Certification empowers farmers and farm workers to lift themselves out of poverty by investing in their farms and communities, protecting the environment, and developing the business skills necessary to compete in the global marketplace.

Fair Trade is much more than a fair price! Fair Trade principles include:

Fair price: Democratically organized farmer groups receive a guaranteed minimum floor price and an additional premium for certified organic products. Farmer organizations are also eligible for pre-harvest credit.

Fair labor conditions: Workers on Fair Trade farms enjoy freedom of association, safe working conditions, and living wages. Forced child labor is strictly prohibited.

Direct trade: With Fair Trade, importers purchase from Fair Trade producer groups as directly as possible, eliminating unnecessary middlemen and empowering farmers to develop the business capacity necessary to compete in the global marketplace.

Democratic and transparent organizations: Fair Trade farmers and farm workers decide democratically how to invest Fair Trade revenues.

Community development: Fair Trade farmers and farm workers invest Fair Trade premiums in social and business development projects like scholarship programs, quality improvement trainings, and organic certification.

Environmental sustainability: Harmful agrochemicals and GMOs are strictly prohibited in favor of environmentally sustainable farming methods that protect farmers’ health and preserve valuable ecosystems for future generations.
These are a pair of justice issues that I care about, and you should too. Click on some links, read up, and join in.