Veterans Health Administration
Go Green for Mental Illness Awareness Week
October 5-11 is Mental Illness Awareness Week. VAs throughout the country are taking the opportunity to educate staff and Veterans and their families about mental health conditions, emphasizing that treatment works and recovery is possible. We encourage help-seeking behavior and emphasize hope and recovery. With this in mind, VA joins America’s mental health community in promoting and expanding awareness of mental health conditions.
According to the National Alliance of Mental Illness (NAMI), mental illness affects everyone. Nearly 60 million Americans experience a mental health condition every year. Regardless of race, age, religion or economic status, mental illness impacts the lives of at least one in four adults and one in 10 children across the United States.
Dr. Harold Kudler, Chief Consultant for Mental Health Services, adds, “Mental Illness Awareness Week is a wonderful opportunity to raise awareness of mental health issues. VA, Veterans and the community come together during MIAW to send messages of strength, hope, and recovery. It is important for everyone to know that help for mental illness is available and that treatment works.
“This week is an important time for us to focus on educating staff and Veterans that mental illness is not the result of personal weakness or lack of character. We want everyone to know that mental illness is treatable and that Veterans regardless of how serious their mental health condition, can improve and recover by actively participating in mental health treatment and a recovery plan.”
Mental Illness is less dramatic than physical pain, but it is more common and also harder to bear.
— C.S. Lewis
Across the country, VA medical facilities are holding special programs to focus on the road to resilience and recovery.
The Minneapolis VA Health Care System is featuring a quiz game on mental health recovery in an e-mail “Daily Briefing” to all staff. They receive over 100 responses to the quiz each day.
At the Pittsburgh VA Medical Center, the Recovery Action Committee is sponsoring a “Celebrate Recovery” cookout for Veterans with music provided by Veterans.
The VA Northern Indiana Health Care System is having a keynote speaker followed by a resource fair organized around whole health resiliency factors. The theme is “Building Resiliency.”
In Topeka, Kansas, the Veterans Mental Health Council is hosting a free hot dog lunch for all Veterans in honor of MIAW on Tuesday and will hold a Resource Fair later in the month.
The Wilmington, Delaware, VA Medical Center, in partnership with NAMI Delaware, will present an educational event focused on wellness and self-care for individuals with mental illness and their families.
Gulf Coast Veterans Health Care System will be doing a series of email blasts about Mental Illness Awareness Week activities sponsored by NAMI across their service area that includes NAMI Connections groups, NAMI family Support Groups and information for Veterans about community based drop-in centers for people with mental illness that are available in Biloxi, MS, Mobile, AL, & Pensacola FL.
Fresno, CA, VA will have a panel of five Veterans and their wives, celebrating Veteran’s stories of recovery and instilling hope “One Day at a Time.”
From a Veteran who attended a Milwaukee VA Mental Health Showcase: Pathways to Recovery: “It’s a reason that I came here today. You have given me hope. I didn’t know about the programs that were available to me.”
Learn more about mental health issues and how VA can help.