This Mental Illness Awareness Week, NAMI Advocates for Increasing Mental Health Care Access | NAMI: National Alliance on Mental Illness

Posted on October 4, 2021

Arlington, VA — This year for Mental Illness Awareness Week (MIAW) on Oct. 3 – 9, 2021, the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) and participants across the country are advocating for better access to quality mental health care.

Since 1990, when Congress officially established MIAW for the first full week of October, advocates have worked together to sponsor activities, large and small, to educate the public about mental illness. This MIAW, NAMI is highlighting our “Together for Mental Health” campaign, which focuses on the importance of improving the mental health care system.

Each day throughout the week (Oct. 3 – 9), we will spread awareness about some of the most common barriers to mental health care people with mental illness face. We will accomplish this by raising the voices of those with lived experience and sharing their compelling stories. We will also unite our advocates to take action to reimagine our crisis response system. We know that discussing mental health conditions year-round makes a difference; however, MIAW provides the advantage of coming together for mental health during a dedicated time to amplify our advocacy efforts collectively.

“Over the pandemic, our movement has grown stronger by the day,” said Daniel H. Gillison Jr., NAMI CEO. “We may be at an inflection point of mainstream acceptance that anyone can be vulnerable to mental health concerns. As a society, we have become more open to discussing mental health and providing support for each other,” Gillison said. “We encourage you to join our chorus of advocates and galvanize our grassroots advocacy work by amplifying our message for accessible, quality mental health care for everyone.”

To help mark MIAW, NAMI is proud to announce that the NAMI HelpLine — a free, nationwide peer-support service — has again extended its hours (after a previous extension in February 2021) to meet increased demand and improve accessibility for West Coast callers.

The NAMI HelpLine is now available Monday – Friday, 10 a.m. – 10 p.m. ET, by phone at 1-800-950-NAMI (6264), via the “Chat with us” web widget, or by email at [email protected] for support and resources. The HelpLine team and volunteers continue to embrace the moment with empathy and creative approaches to expand access to resources. There are also HelpLine information and referral resources available 24/7 online at in the NAMI HelpLine Knowledge Center and the NAMI Resource Library. In a crisis, please text “NAMI” to 741-741 to connect with a trained crisis counselor for free, 24/7 support via text message.


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NAMI HelpLine is available M-F, 10 a.m. – 10 p.m. ET. Call 800-950-6264,
text “helpline” to 62640, or chat online. In a crisis, call or text 988 (24/7).