Mental Illness Awareness Week: October 4-10, 2020

 In Articles, Mental Health & Wellbeing

Each year millions of Americans face the reality of living with a mental health condition. During the first full week of October, NAMI (National Alliance for Mental Illness) and participants across the country raise awareness of mental illness. Each year they fight stigma, provide support, educate the public and advocate for equal care. Each year, the movement grows stronger.

Fast Facts

These are only a few of the reasons why it’s important to take part in promoting awareness for Mental Illness Awareness Week. Please use these facts and others, including the infographics at, to encourage discussions about mental health through social media or other forms of outreach.

–  1 in 5 U.S. adults experience mental illness each year
–  1 in 25 U.S. adults experience serious mental illness each year
–  1 in 6 U.S. youth aged 6-17 experience a mental health disorder each year

Mental illness affects:
–  37% of LGB adults
–  27% Mixed/Multiracial adults
–  22% of American Indian or Alaska Native
–  20% of White adults
–  17% of Latinx adults
–  16% of Black adults
–  15% of Asian adults
–  Annual prevalence among U.S. adults, by condition:
–  Anxiety Disorders: 19.1% (estimated 48 million people)
–  Major Depressive Episode: 7.2% (17.7 million people)
–  Post-traumatic Stress Disorder: 3.6% (estimated 9 million people)
–  Bipolar Disorder: 2.8% (estimated 7 million people)
–  Borderline Personality Disorder: 1.4% (estimated 3.5 million people)
–  Obsessive Compulsive Disorder: 1.2% (estimated 3 million people)
–  Schizophrenia: <1% (estimated 1.5 million people)

Mental health issues are important to address year-round, but highlighting them during the month of October provides a time for people to come together and display the compassion and strength of those working to improve the lives of the tens of millions of Americans affected by mental illness. Health care for mental illness will improve if we work towards creating a community where everyone can safely seek the help they need.

NAMI continues our year-long awareness campaign, You Are Not Alone, to feature the stories of people affected by mental illness to fight stigma, inspire others and educate the broader public. Now more than ever, the mental health community must come together and show that no one is ever really alone. No one should be without the information, support, connection and help they need. Visit NAMI online at to find out more. Local Santa Clara County NAMI is available to take your calls at any time:  408-453-0400 x1.

Struggles with mental health are not limited to the U.S. This year, the World Health Organization will celebrate World Mental Health Day on October 10.  For the first time ever, WHO will host a global online advocacy event on mental health: “The Big Event for Mental Health” will gather world leaders, mental health experts and celebrity guests along with WHO Director-General, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, to tell the world what we can all do to improve our mental health and how we can help make sure that quality mental health care is available to everyone who needs it.

During the event, which will be streamed live on major social media channels, you will:
–  learn how WHO, together with our partners, is helping improve the mental health of people in countries throughout the world;
–  hear from national and international leaders about why they are making mental health a priority;
–  hear first-hand why internationally-renowned artists and sportsmen and women have become mental health advocates and listen to their advice for those who are struggling; and
–  listen to critically-acclaimed musicians perform some of their most popular music.

In the lead-up to World Mental Health Day and the Big Event, join the campaign, sharing messages and creating posts showing how you invest in your own mental health. Follow WHO on FacebookInstagramLinkedInSnapchatTwitter and Tik-Tok to find out more.

If you or someone you know may need a mental health assessment, anonymous online tools are available.  For more information about local efforts in reducing stigma or confidential referrals to local support, contact Leah Harris, Holy Spirit Pastoral Care, 408-997-5110.


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