Hello everyone, happy October!!
. . .and Happy (almost) Mental Health Awareness Week!
Can you believe we’re officially in the last quarter of the year?! They say as we get older, time gets faster. . .and I am definitely feeling that. Wasn’t it October 6 months ago? I mean, that’s how it feels, at least.
This is my favorite time of year, forget Christmas-it’s definitely Halloween that is the most wonderful. And I know I’m not alone in this sentiment.
I think one of the reasons this is such a loved season is because it’s the time of year we’re most accepting and welcoming of the dark. Haunted houses, scary movies, partying, trick or treating would not be the same at 12 in the afternoon. Even darker subject matters we’re more open to around this time; it somehow becomes less uncomfortable to discuss taboo topics such as paranormality-demons/spirits, or mental health-depression/sociopaths.
And this is cool, I am all for the spooky stuff. But since I live with mental illness, specifically bipolar II, my consciousness of mental health is not limited to one season. And I am sure many of you feel the same. But maybe the same reasons why this season is so beloved are the same reasons why Mental Health Awareness Week is at the beginning of October.
This year, from the 7th to the 13th communities all across the United States will dedicate their time to further educate us on mental illness. Thanks to the efforts of NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness, this event was established by Congress almost 30 years ago back in 1990. That is barely anytime in the grand scheme of things, no wonder why we as a society are still waiting for the 10th month to roll around to be okay with darker topics. Thankfully, NAMI is on this too-this year’s theme will be “CureStigma”.
NAMI is the leading mental health organization in the U.S. They are made up of state organizations, local affiliates, and volunteers who are “. . .dedicated to building better lives for the millions. . .affected by mental illness.” They accomplish this by offering education programs and a toll-free helpline, advocating for public policy, and holding events such as Mental Health Awareness Week. They also have multiple chapters across the country and you can find the one closest to you here.
NAMI encourages us to raise awareness whether it is, “on [our] own, as part of a small group or part of [our] community”. So whether or not there is a NAMI within driving distance from you, you can totally take part in this event. Check online or in your local newspaper to see if your community will be doing anything. It tends to be a big deal, so chances are you will be able to find something.
If not, don’t fret-spreading awareness doesn’t mean you have to light up your town hall or attend any event at all. A simple Facebook post, Tweet, or even better an actual face-to-face message of recognition and gratitude to just one loved one or stranger can have worlds of impact. Especially since:
Pretty much, anyone you know could be struggling, and sometimes it is just that one statement of acknowledgment or encouragement that can help them find the strength to make it through the day.
So, as this month kicks off and you start to get ready for all things Halloween and Fall, take a second to remember to the millions of others who experience a fall season much more than just once a year.
Do you or anyone else you know struggle with any mental illness? I would love to know your experiences! Please comment down below, and follow me for more quality content. . .or you know if you just want to know you’re not alone in how you feel.
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