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Mental Illness Awareness Week

The South Dakota Department of Human Services Center released the below article regarding Mental Illness Awareness Week.

The first week of October is Mental Illness Awareness Week. According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 1 in 6 South Dakota adults live with some form of mental illness. Despite this frequency, those who live with a mental health disorder or addiction often report they feel isolated and alone.

This year’s motto for Mental Illness Awareness Week is “Together We Care. Together We Share”. The motto is meant to convey the power of coming together as a community.  Therapeutic benefits can take place when people gather to share their experiences and find support. Communities also bring awareness to the commonality of behavioral health disorders. This awareness can break down the very same stigmas that cause feelings of isolation to those living with a behavioral health challenge.

The language we use is powerful, and your choice of words can help break down misconceptions and stereotypes; but, when not chosen thoughtfully, they can also contribute to them. Stigmatizing language – such as “crazy” — feeds negative perceptions, which can result in excluding people from jobs, housing, social activities and relationships. The individuals affected by these disorders may also begin to believe the negative things that others say about them, interfering with their recovery journey.

People living with a mental health challenge are people first. Therefore, using person-first language puts the focus on the person, not their disorder or diagnosis.

To begin incorporating more inclusive, person-first language into your conversations about mental health you might make the effort to use the below suggestions:

Instead of this…… Try this.
Mentally ill Person living with a mental health challenge or use the diagnosis if the person prefers that language (i.e. major depressive disorder)
Crazy/insane/disturbed Person living with a mental health challenge/trauma
Manic-depressive Person living with bipolar disorder
Addict/junkie/druggie Person living with a substance use challenge or disorder
Alcoholic Person living with a substance use challenge or disorder
Ex-addict/clean Person in recovery

Remember, that small actions can have a big impact in someone’s life and journey towards recovery. If you or someone you know is living with mental health or substance, use challenge, take note – you’re not alone. Find resources, support services and more at SDBehavioralHealth.gov.

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Events This Month


30may11:00 am12:00 pmEmployee Accountability: How to Address Problem Behaviors and AttitudesSDAHO Webinar

30may11:00 am12:00 pmExploring an Evidence-based Toolkit and Tailoring Messages to Specific Audiences

30may11:30 am12:30 pmSerious Illness DiscussionMJHS Hospice and Palliative Care Webinar

30may12:00 pm1:00 pmOverview of Proposed IPPS Rule (FY) 2025AHA Webinar

31may9:00 am3:00 pmEmpowerED Leadership ConferenceSDAHEC Conference

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