The National Alliance on Mental Illness first began in 1979 as a small group of families who gathered together to discuss mental health. Since then, the association has become a leading voice in advocating for and spreading awareness of mental illness. In 1990, Congress established the first full week of October as Mental Illness Awareness Week in recognition of NAMI’s many efforts. Organizations across the country have used this week to educate their communities on mental illness.

In recognition of the week, the AHA wanted to share some of NAMI’s resources to promote Mental Illness Awareness Week. 


Although 20 percent of Americans live with a mental health condition, mental illness is still stigmatized. But speaking out can help reduce any vilifying beliefs.   

20% Americans live with a mental health disorder

Depression and bipolar disorder are the No. 1 reason children are admitted to hospitals


Mental Illness Awareness Week isn’t just about bringing attention to mental illness, but also to the care that is available. For a list of resources, visit

More than 50 percent of adults and children with mental health disorders did not receive treatment last year