Mental Illness Awareness Week

Group of people

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).

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, “Together for Mental Health,” where we will focus on the importance of advocating for better care for people with serious mental illness.

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

How To Engage Online With MIAW

MIAW Video Series

NAMI is featuring videos from real people sharing their lived experience with some of the symptoms and conditions we are focusing on during MIAW. Watch and share the videos below.

Krishna Louis: What I wish people knew about anxiety

Andrea Landry: What I wish people knew about bipolar disorder

Andrea Landry: What I wish people knew about bipolar disorderAndrea Landry: What I wish people knew about bipolar disorder

Ashlynn McNeeley: What I wish people knew about Borderline Personality Disorder

NAMI Blog

Each day during MIAW, NAMI will be featuring special blog topics. Visit the NAMI Blog at nami.org/Blogs/NAMI-Blog and look for posts on our social media.

Personal Stories

Each day during MIAW, we'll be featuring special personal stories at nami.org/personal-stories.

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 nami.org/mhstats, 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)
Source: NAMI, https://www.nami.org/get-involved/awareness-events/mental-illness-awareness-week