MONTGOMERY - 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. That is why each year during the first week of October, (October 6-12) participants across the country raise awareness of mental illness through Mental Illness Awareness Week (MIAW).

The Alabama Department of Mental Health (ADMH) believes that mental health conditions are important to discuss year-round but highlighting them during Mental Illness Awareness Week provides a dedicated time for mental health advocates across the country to come together. Mental health is just as important as physical health and deserves care and attention. During the week, ADMH will be sharing important information to help decrease stigma and share resources for those in need.

Although many people today understand that mental illness is a brain disorder; individuals and families affected by mental illness are still often subjected to stigma, discrimination, and misunderstanding.

October 10 is World Mental Health Day. This year, the focus is on suicide prevention. ADMH and partners ask that you take “40 Seconds of Action” to help us improve awareness of the significance of suicide as a global health problem, improve knowledge of what can be done to prevent suicide, reduce stigma and let people who are struggling know that they are not alone. This is an opportunity to show you care.

Learn more about World Mental Health Day here. The Alabama Suicide Prevention Resource Center can assist with more information and resources on the scope of the problem, warning signs and the impact of suicide to families and our nation.

The Alabama Department of Mental Health serves more than 200,000 Alabama citizens with mental illnesses, intellectual disabilities, and substance use disorders. The department strives to Serve, Empower, and offer support to create awareness while promoting the health and well-being of Alabamians. Visit for more information.


  • 1 in 5 U.S. adults experiences mental illness each year
  • 1 in 25 U.S. adults experiences serious mental illness each year such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and major depression
  • 1 in 6 U.S. youth aged 6-17 experiences a mental health disorder each year
  • 50% of chronic mental illness begins by age 14 and 75% by age 24
  • Suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death among people aged 10-34

NAMI Shoals, the local affiliate of the National Alliance on Mental Illness, is hosting two special events this week for the general public.

• The 27th Candlelight Vigil is on Tuesday, October 8 at 7pm at Riverbend Center for Mental Health Auditorium.  

The Keynote Speaker is Stan Johnson of Alabama Arise.  The Topic will be ‘Medicaid Expansion.’


• Picnic/NAMI Walks for Mental Health for consumers, families, friends, staff on Saturday, October 12, from 10am-2pm at McFarland Park, Shelter 2

Call NAMI Shoals, 256-765-2081 for further information and learn how you can volunteer.