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How Can I Spread Mental Illness Awareness?

Awareness is the key to change. Awareness is what takes us from a state of unknowing to a state of knowing. Once we become aware, we cannot become unaware of whatever it is we have just become aware of. We may “forget”. We may choose to live in ignorance or denial. However, we choose to avoid the awareness we have, that behavior does not change the fact that we are actually aware. Thich Nhat Hanh beautifully said, “Awareness is like the sun. When it shines on things, they are transformed.” Awareness transforms our lives in the very nanosecond we become aware. As we let more information into our awareness, we let more of the world into our hearts and we begin a relationship of transformation ongoing because awareness gives us depth.

We need depth in awareness and depth in understanding of issues and experience which frame our daily lives as well as the lives of millions of others around the world: mental illness. Though there are circumstances which put someone at greater risk of developing a mental illness than others, everyone is vulnerable to the onset of mental illness at any stage in their lives. Tragically, a pervasive stigma accompanies the topic of mental illness, preventing people from opening their awareness, as well as their hearts. People who are living with mental illness are not bad people. People living with mental illness are people who are suffering, experiencing sickness, and might have experienced trauma.

The first week of October marks National Mental Illness Awareness Week put on by NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness. Congress deemed the first week of October as Mental Illness Awareness Week in 1990 and the week has since helped raise awareness across millions since.

For 2018, the theme of Mental Illness Awareness Week focuses on the very problem awareness fights against when it comes to mental illness: stigma. The “Cure Stigma” theme is more important than ever as mental illness becomes more prevalent in our country. Stigma “creates an environment of shame, fear, and silence,” the website for the event explains. As the organization emphasizes, “Stigma is 100% curable.” It takes compassion, empathy, and understanding to cure stigma, but starts with the simple act of awareness.

Spread Mental Illness Awareness this month by learning more about the diagnoses of your loved ones. Go for a mental health screening to find out if you are living with mental illness as well. Try self-reflection to discover what beliefs you hold about mental illness and investigate where they come from, whether they come from love, or if there is any room for them to change.

The more aware we can become of mental illness in our own lives, the more compassionate we can become about mental illness in the lives of others.

At The Guest House Ocala, we offer residential treatment programs specialized for the care of traumas, addictions, and related mental health issues. Call us today for information on our trauma treatment programs and our concierge style customization for every guest: 1-855-483-7800