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Mental Illness Awareness Week

Article by: Mental Illness Awareness Week | NAMI: National Alliance on Mental Illness

Each year, millions of Americans face the reality of living with a mental health condition. However, mental illness affects everyone directly or indirectly through family, friends or coworkers. That is why each year, during the first week of October, NAMI and participants across the country raise awareness of mental illness, fight discrimination and provide support through Mental Illness Awareness Week (MIAW).

We believe that mental health conditions are important to discuss year-round, but highlighting them during MIAW provides a dedicated time for mental health advocates across the country to come together as one unified voice. Since 1990, when Congress officially established the first full week of October as MIAW, advocates have worked together to sponsor activities, large or small, to educate the public about mental illness.

This year’s MIAW is centered around our new awareness campaign, “Together for Mental Health,” where we will focus on the importance of advocating for better care for people with serious mental illness (SMI). Each day throughout the week, we will be raising the voices of people with lived experience to talk about SMI and the need for improved crisis response and mental health care.

MIAW 2021

Mental Illness Awareness Week runs from October 3–9 and coincides with additional related events:

  • Tuesday Oct. 5: National Day of Prayer for Mental Illness Recovery and Understanding

  • Thursday Oct. 7: National Depression Screening Day

  • Saturday Oct. 9: NAMIWalks United Day of Hope

  • Sunday Oct. 10: World Mental Health Day


Each day during MIAW, we'll be featuring special blog topics. Visit the NAMI Blog at and look for posts on our social media.

Personal Stories

Each day during MIAW, we'll be featuring special personal stories at

Social Media

Social media graphics and logo files you can share on accounts as posts, cover images, website hero images or to add to existing messaging can be downloaded here.

Here are some sample social media posts you can use throughout MIAW. Amplify our social media posts by sharing, liking and retweeting.

  • 1 in 20 U.S. adults experience SMI each year, but less than two-thirds get treatment. We must improve access to quality care. #Together4MH

  • Do you have a mental health crisis story? Share with us today to help reimagine our crisis response system. #Together4MH

  • Mental health is a huge part of overall health and should be a priority for everyone, whether you have a mental health condition or not. #Together4MH #MIAW

  • Now, more than ever, we need to provide mental health support and resources. NAMI is here for you! #Together4MH

Additional Resources

Information, resources and graphics to support Mental Illness Awareness Week can be downloaded here. Additional stats, infographics and resources can also be found on our Mental Health by the Numbers web page.

Fast Facts

These are only a few of the reasons why it’s important to take part in promoting awareness for MIAW. Please use these facts and others, including the infographics at, to encourage discussions about mental health through social media or other forms of outreach.

  • 1 in 5 U.S. adults experience mental illness each year

  • 1 in 20 U.S. adults experience serious mental illness each year

  • 1 in 6 U.S. youth aged 6-17 experience a mental health disorder each year

  • Mental illness affects:

  • 44% of LGB adults

  • 32% Mixed/Multiracial adults

  • 22% of White adults

  • 19% of American Indian or Alaska Native

  • 18% of Latinx adults

  • 17% of Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander adults

  • 17% of Black adults

  • 14% of Asian adults

  • Annual prevalence among U.S. adults, by condition:

  • Anxiety Disorders: 19.1% (estimated 48 million people)

  • Major Depressive Episode: 7.8% (19.4 million people)

  • Posttraumatic Stress Disorder: 3.6% (estimated 9 million people)

  • Bipolar Disorder: 2.8% (estimated 7 million people)

  • Borderline Personality Disorder: 1.4% (estimated 3.5 million people)

  • Obsessive Compulsive Disorder: 1.2% (estimated 3 million people)

  • Schizophrenia: <1% (estimated 1.5 million people)


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