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 week of October to celebrate.
MIAW is NAMI's premiere public awareness and public education campaign and link NAMI's 1,100+ local affiliates across the country.
MIAW has become a tradition in NAMI. It presents an opportunity for all three levels of NAMI — national, state and local — to work together in communities across the country to achieve the NAMI mission through outreach, education and advocacy.
Real recovery from mental illness requires community action, understanding and teamwork. Recovery is possible because of improved science, better community supports and reduced stigma. But significant barriers still exist. Services are at risk, insurance can be insufficient and stigma, though less today than when MIAW was founded, is still prevalent.
NAMI National offers technical assistance to all state and affiliate organizations planning activities during Mental Illness Awareness Week.
The following are information resources and publicity tools for promoting MIAW in your area. They include a logo, sticker and poster (both English and Spanish-language versions), as well as model materials for work with the media and public events.
The materials are offered in easy, downloadable format. You can print them from your computer or supply them to your local print shop.
For complete instructions on how to use these resources, please refer to the comprehensive Idea Book.