October's Connection to Mental Health

October is a month full of apple fest’s, pumpkin patches, Halloween celebrations and Dia de los muertos alters. Along with these joyous and honoring events come mental health concerns. The decrease in daylight hours affects many of us in negative ways. The increase in gray skies coupled with cooling temps can become a recipe for decreased mood and interest in activities. October also reminds us to assess our mental health with two events: Mental illness awareness week and the national depression screening day, both of which are this week!

The National Alliance on Mental Health has a robust website full of facts and tips as well as ways to get involved. Below is a recent article covering Mental Illness Awareness Week, which is October 7th-13th. Also this week: National Depression Screening Day on October 11th. Along with the article from NAMI is a brief informational sheet from Screening For Mental Health, Inc., their website also has loads of information and resources.

Mental Illness Awareness Week

Each year, millions of Americans face the reality of living with a mental health condition. However, mental illness affects everyone directly or indirectly through family, friends or coworkers. Despite mental illnesses’ reach and prevalence, stigma and misunderstanding are also, unfortunately, widespread.

That is why each year, during the first week of October, NAMI and participants across the country raise awareness of mental illness. Each year, we educate the public, fight stigma and provide support. And each year, our movement grows stronger.

We believe that mental health conditions are important to discuss year-round, but highlighting them during Mental Illness Awareness Week provides a dedicated time for mental health advocates across the country to come together as one unified voice. Since 1990, when Congress officially established the first full week of October as Mental Illness Awareness Week (MIAW), advocates have worked together to sponsor activities, large or small, to educate the public about mental illness.


In 2018, NAMI will promote the theme of "CureStigma" throughout all awareness events, including Mental Illness Awareness Week which takes place from Oct. 7–13.

Why this cause is important: One in 5 Americans is affected by mental health conditions. Stigma is toxic to their mental health because it creates an environment of shame, fear and silence that prevents many people from seeking help and treatment. The perception of mental illness won’t change unless we act to change it.

Campaign manifesto: There’s a virus spreading across America. It harms the 1 in 5 Americans affected by mental health conditions. It shames them into silence. It prevents them from seeking help. And in some cases, it takes lives. What virus are we talking about? It’s stigma. Stigma against people with mental health conditions. But there’s good news. Stigma is 100% curable. Compassion, empathy and understanding are the antidote. Your voice can spread the cure. Join NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness. Together we can #CureStigma.


#CureStigma for MIAW. Help us spread the word through the many awareness, support and advocacy activities including World Mental Health Day and National Depression Screening Day. Share awareness information and images and graphics for #MIAW throughout the week.



Fact Sheet: National Depression Screening Day® October 11, 2018

Visit www.HelpYourselfHelpOthers.org to locate a mental health screening site or take an online screening.

WHAT: National Depression Screening Day (NDSD), held annually on the Thursday of the first full week in October, is dedicated to raising awareness and screening people for depression and related mood and anxiety disorders. NDSD is the nation’s oldest voluntary, community-based screening program that gives access to validated screening questionnaires and provides referral information for treatment.

This year’s theme, Reach Out, focuses on connecting with those around you and finding support for yourself and others. Whether you tell one person, talk to a doctor or mental health professional or become an advocate for mental health awareness, it’s important to reach out to help yourself and help others. You can help support the campaign by using the hashtags #NDSD and #ReachOut. Please join us this National Depression Screening Day and help us spread the word to increase awareness of mental health.

WHERE: NDSD takes place nationwide. Individuals can locate a mental health screening site or take an online screening by visiting www.HelpYourselfHelpOthers.org.

WHEN: This year, NDSD is October 11.

HOW: The organizations, which include hospitals, community centers, social service agencies, government organizations, older adult facilities, colleges, secondary schools and military installations, provide information about mood and anxiety disorders and offer screenings—in-person or online—to their community. After completing a screening, individuals receive referral information to local agencies that offer further evaluation and treatment if needed.

WHY: Depression screening is effective in linking at-risk individuals with treatment options. Results from a 2009 independent research study by the University of Connecticut and commissioned by Screening for Mental Health confirm this connection. The study showed that 55% of participants who completed an online depression screening and who agreed to participate in a follow-up survey sought depression treatment within three months of the screening.