For Immediate Release
October 7, 2013
Contact: Laura McCasland
Sacramento County Observes
Mental Illness Awareness Week Oct. 6-12, 2013
Help Stop Stigma by Getting Involved
Mental Illness Awareness Week (MIAW) is Oct. 6-12, 2013 and is an opportunity to learn more about serious mental illnesses such as major depression, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI).
SACRAMENTO, Calif. - In honor of Mental Illness Awareness Week (MIAW), the Sacramento County Division of Behavioral Health Services (DBHS) is encouraging local residents to get involved as part of its countywide mental health stigma and discrimination reduction effort, the ”Mental Illness: It’s not always what you think” project.
The ”Mental Illness: It’s not always what you think” project aims to promote messages of hope and recovery, encourage conversation around mental illness, and underscore that mental illness can affect anyone. Roughly one in every four adults and one in five children will experience a diagnosable mental disorder during their lifetime.
Here in Sacramento County it is estimated that approximately 355,000 residents live with mental illness, but research shows that only one-third will seek professional help primarily due to the stigma and discrimination surrounding mental illness. Culture also plays a large role in the stigma experienced by people living with a mental illness, and can sometimes add additional barriers to seeking treatment.
“Mental Illness Awareness Week is extremely important. Stigma around mental illness is a major obstacle to people seeking help when they need it,” said Jane Ann LeBlanc, Health Program Manager, Sacramento County’s Division of Behavioral Health Services. “The aim of the ‘Mental Illness: It’s not always what you think’ project is to reduce stigma and discrimination, as well as to inspire hope for people and families living with mental illness. The more people that know about mental illness, the better they can help themselves or help their loved ones get the help and support they need.”
There are several ways to help reduce stigma and get involved with the project:
1. Attend the Mental Illness Awareness Week Community Event on Oct. 10 at the Elk Grove City Hall Chambers from 10 a.m.-12 p.m. The event will include remarks by Mayor Gary Davis, speakers from the Stop Stigma Sacramento Speakers Bureau and several informational booths.
2. Join the Stop Stigma Sacramento Speakers Bureau. The project’s Speakers Bureau offers an opportunity for people living with a mental illness, or their friends and family members, to share messages of wellness, hope and recovery that help promote positive attitudes about living with mental illness.
3. Share your personal story of hope and recovery to help stop stigma and discrimination toward people and families living with mental illness. Telling your story may encourage others to share their experiences and may end the silence that contributes to isolation and shame.
MIAW, sponsored by the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), is observed nationally Oct. 6-12 and provides an opportunity to increase awareness and reduce stigma around mental illnesses. This year’s theme, “It’s time,” encourages people to address stigma and make a difference.
For more information on Sacramento County’s stigma and discrimination reduction project, please visit www.stopstigmasacramento.org. Residents can also call 2-1-1 Sacramento (2-1-1 or TTY 916-446-1434), a free information and referral service for the community. Calls are always confidential and interpreters are available.
As always, be blessed, be well and GET INVOLVED!!!