October 7th – 13th is Mental Illness Awareness Week

October 7th – 13th is Mental Illness Awareness Week

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. Despite mental illnesses’ reach and prevalence, stigma and misunderstanding are also, unfortunately, widespread.

That is why each year, during the first full week of October, NAMI and participants across the country raise awareness of mental illness. Each year, we educate the public, fight stigma, and provide support.

The theme of this year’s Mental Illness Awareness Week (MIAW) is Cure Stigma. Stigma is toxic to an individual’s mental health because it creates an environment of shame, fear, and silence that prevents many people from seeking help and treatment. The perception of mental illness won’t change unless we act to change it.
As part of MIAW, NAMI of Erie County is promoting our Exploring the Arts with NAMI (ETA) event taking place October 15th, from 10 a.m. until 12 p.m., to help fight stigma starting at a young age. We will also be celebrating the graduation of our first NAMI Basics class, as well as participating in the YMCA Healthy Living & Wellness Fair, on October 12th, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., at the Eastside YMCA.

ETA takes place at the ExpERIEnce Children’s Museum where children will explore how art and creativity can positively affect mental health and wellness. The event is open to the public and St. Martin Center will have over 50 students in attendance.

The children will enjoy a fun-filled day of music, art, and mental health education that allows them to explore how art affects mental health and wellness.
Local musician, Lori Burke, whose work has been featured on Sesame Street will perform a mini-concert for the kids. Children will get a chance to see a variety of instruments, as well as make their own out of recyclable materials.

Funding for ETA is partially provided in part by funding from The Erie Women’s Fund.