The first week of October is Mental Illness Awareness Week (MIAW) and the Department of Social Services (DSS) is using this time to raise awareness of mental illness, combat stigma, and discuss the resources available in South Dakota.
“Every South Dakotan can make a difference in ending the silence and stigma surrounding mental illness,” DSS Cabinet Secretary Laurie Gill said. “Mental Illness Awareness Week provides a dedicated time to focus efforts on advocacy, dispelling myths, educating others about mental illness, and discussing available resources.”
MIAW’s theme this year, “What I Wish I Had Known,” is focusing on the power of lived experience. Events happening during this week include:
- October 4th is National Day of Prayer for Mental Illness Recovery and Understanding. It is a time when mental health networks and faith leaders in South Dakota work together to support individuals and communities in finding healing and recovery.
- October 6th is National Depression Screening Day. Screenings are not diagnostic, but they can assist in determining if someone is experiencing symptoms associated with depression.
The National Alliance on Mental Illness website features videos of people sharing their experience with mental health conditions. To access the video series as well as blogs and personal stories visit nami.org. For depression screening information and support, visit mhanational.org.
- 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
“The message this week is that it is important to maintain mental health, learn the symptoms of mental illness, and know how to get help when help is needed,” Gill said. “Individuals are more likely to seek professional help for physical health than mental health because of the stigma around mental health services. There is no shame in asking for help.”
If you or a loved one is struggling with a mental health challenge, please visit dss.sd.gov or call the South Dakota Treatment Resource Hotline at 1-800-920-4343 to find a local mental health provider. 988 is available 24/7 to provide free and confidential care. Just call, text, or chat 988.