Nashville – In recognition of Mental Illness Awareness Week (October 4 – 10, 2009), the Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities is encouraging Tennesseans to increase their awareness of mental health and illness.
Mental illnesses and disorders are health conditions characterized by alterations in thinking, mood, or behavior, and are associated with impaired functioning or ways of talking, feeling, and acting. One in four Tennesseans will have a diagnosable mental disorder this year.
“Mental disorders are highly prevalent in our society and seriously impact families and communities,” said TDMHDD Commissioner Virginia Trotter Betts. “Mental illnesses are real illnesses for which there are proven treatments and real solutions. Mental Illnesses are just as diagnosable and just as successfully treatable as most other physical illnesses.”
Yet, many individuals living with a mental disorder do not seek care because of the stigma surrounding mental illness. Stigma is the single greatest barrier to people getting the treatment they need.
“The greatest weapon against stigma is knowledge and interpersonal acceptance of mental illnesses as real and mental health treatment as effective,” said Betts. “We hope with the activities and information available this week, people will learn more about mental health and mental illness. We must enhance community understanding and empower those who are especially vulnerable in these stressful times to seek help.”
For a complete listing of Mental Illness Awareness Week activities or more information on mental health resources please visit www.tn.gov/mental or call TDMHDD’s Office of Communications at (615) 253-4812.