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National Mental Health Awareness Week – May 10-16, 2024

National Mental Health Awareness Week is organized between May 10 and May 16. Mental health is still a taboo topic in many countries and communities. People who are mentally ill are not necessarily crazy, which is a general misconception. At least one in four people is in dire need of mental health checkups around the world.

History of National Mental Health Awareness Week

National Mental Health Awareness Week is an annual event, which provides an opportunity for the whole of the world to focus on achieving good mental health. The Mental Health Foundation in the U.K. started the event 21 years ago. A couple of years down the line, World Mental Health Day was observed for the first time on October 10, 1992. It was started as an annual activity of the World Federation for Mental Health by the then Deputy Secretary-General Richard Hunter. The day is officially commemorated every year on October 10.

In the beginning, National Mental Health Awareness Week had no specific theme. Its aims were quite general in terms of promoting mental health advocacy and educating the public on relevant mental health issues. But after a few years, a theme was allocated to every Mental Health Awareness Week. The event has grown to become one of the biggest awareness campaigns globally.

Mental Health Awareness Week is open to each individual. It is all about starting conversations about mental health and the things in our daily lives that can affect our sanity. The week is also a chance to talk about any aspect of mental health that people want to, regardless of the theme.

Mental Health is considered a big taboo in many of the under-developed or developing countries. However, in Western countries, this is not the case and, since the 1950s, mental health has gained more prominence in Western society. People are much more open to talking about it. Hopefully, soon enough, it will spread to the rest of the world.

National Mental Health Awareness Week timeline

Birth Year

Mental Health Awareness Week is established to increase awareness.

World Mental Health Day

World Mental Health Day is observed for the first time on October 10.

Themed Events Start

Mental Health Awareness Week starts setting a theme for every year.

Planning Kit

Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) offers help by arranging translation of planning kit material.

National Mental Health Awareness Week FAQs

What is the purpose of Mental Health Awareness Week?

Approximately one in four people in the world suffer from mental health problems each year. Mental Health Awareness Week aims to get people talking about their mental health and reduce the stigma that stops people from asking for help.

What are the different types of mental illness?

Anxiety disorders, including panic disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and phobias; depression, bipolar disorder, and other mood disorders; eating disorders; personality disorders; post-traumatic stress disorder; and psychotic disorders, including schizophrenia.

What is the most difficult mental illness to treat?

Borderline personality disorder has historically been viewed as the most difficult to treat among all mental health problems.

How To Observe National Mental Health Awareness Week

  1. Reach out to friends and relatives

    In National Mental Health Awareness Week you can start by talking to your friends and relatives. You don’t have to openly talk about mental illness, but you can just slide it in the conversation, and listen to their responses. You can understand whether or not they need mental health support. If you feel so, then guide them on how to get professional help.

  2. Read about mental health

    Mental health is a really tricky subject and therefore it’s very important to learn more about it before advising your friends and relatives on it. Try to read as many books on the subject this National Mental Health Awareness Week so that you have a better understanding of mental illness before you talk about it to others.

  3. Visit your therapist

    You can take time off work during National Mental Health Awareness Week and visit your therapist. Your therapist can assess your situation and let you know whether you personally need any help or not. Also, they can give you professional and sound advice, which will help you when you’re talking to or advising your friends and relatives about mental health.

5 Causes Of Mental Illness

  1. Family lineage

    Your genes and family history have an important role to play in your mental stability.

  2. Life experiences

    Experiences such as stress or a history of abuse, especially if it happened in childhood, can have a negative impact on your mental health.

  3. Biological factors

    Chemical imbalances in the brain can cause a lot of mental tension leading to trauma and illness.

  4. Pre-birth exposure

    A mother's exposure to viruses or toxic chemicals, while she is pregnant, can also affect the mental health of her baby.

  5. Isolation and loneliness

    If you don’t have a lot of friends and prefer staying isolated and feel lonely all the time, you’re more likely to slip into depression, which can lead to further mental illness.

Why National Mental Awareness Week Is Important

  1. Mental health is not a joke

    Mental health is serious. The social stigma attached to mental illness can cause someone to remain ill for a prolonged period, which can lead to more serious conditions. This week helps people begin an open dialogue and break the stigma.

  2. Mental health needs immediate attention

    Mental health is something that needs immediate attention. It can get serious very fast, especially when people are affected deeply by a specific incident in their lives. It could push someone over the edge towards suicide. This awareness week helps people understand that it’s okay to talk about mental health and there’s no shame in asking for help.

  3. No strict definition of mental health

    A very insignificant thing for one person can be a very aggravating thing for another. Mental health differs from person to person, and there is no concrete way of defining it. Thus, mental health awareness week is necessary to help people become aware of their mental suffering and make others around them aware of it too so that they can get help.

National Mental Health Awareness Week dates

2024May 10Friday
2025May 10Saturday
2026May 10Sunday
2027May 10Monday
2028May 10Wednesday

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