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ARLINGTON, VA – This year during Mental Illness Awareness Week (MIAW), from Oct. 2–8, the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) is sharing real-life stories from people with mental illness focused on “What I Wish I Had Known.”
Storytelling is a compelling way to break through the stigma that makes it so difficult for many to come forward and get help. Experiences sends the message that there is a community of people who care and understand what you’re going through.
Since 1990, when Congress officially established MIAW as the first full week of October, advocates have worked together to sponsor activities that educate the public about mental illness. This MIAW, NAMI is highlighting the wisdom and unique perspective of people with mental illness by focusing each day of the week on a different topic including stigma, medication, therapy, disclosing and caregiving. MIAW provides the advantage of a collective coming together to amplify the voices and power of lived experience to help people struggling overcome barriers and reach out for help.
“We know that sharing personal stories about mental illness and recovery can inspire hope and have a powerful impact on anyone ,” said NAMI CEO Daniel H. Gillison Jr. “By removing the stigma and increasing an understanding of mental illness, we can come together in support of each other and change lives for the better. NAMI is committed to providing free mental health support and resources available to anyone in need of help.”
To expand NAMI’s reach, particularly among young people, the NAMI HelpLine — a free, nationwide peer-support service — recently added a text option, available by texting "HelpLine" to 62640. The NAMI HelpLine is available Monday–Friday, 10 a.m. – 10 p.m. ET, by phone at 1-800-950-NAMI (6264), via “Chat with us” online and email at firstname.lastname@example.org. (In a crisis, the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline is available 24/7 nationwide by calling or texting 988.)
The NAMI HelpLine provides information, resource referrals and support to people with a mental health condition, family members and caregivers, mental health providers and the public. The NAMI HelpLine team and volunteers are dedicated to listening with compassion and empathy, as well as providing creative approaches to access available mental health services and resources. In addition, the HelpLine Online Knowledge and Resource Center is an extensive library with answers to NAMI’s most frequently asked questions.
The new book “You Are Not Alone: The NAMI Guide to Navigating Mental Health―With Advice from Experts and Wisdom from Real People and Families” includes stories from more than 130 people who understand the challenges of finding help, providing insights on different paths to recovery. NAMI offers peer-support groupsroughout a network of more than 650 local Affiliates and 49
The National Alliance on Mental Illness is the nation’s largest grassroots mental health organization dedicated to improving the lives of individuals and families affected by mental illness.
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