Mental health: get help. Take control. To feel better; Today is the National Day of Prayer for Recovery and Understanding of Mental Illness

The first week of October is Mental Illness Awareness Week, and the Department of Social Services uses this time to raise awareness about mental illness, fight stigma, and discuss resources available in South Dakota.

“Every South Dakota can make a difference to end the silence and stigma around mental illness,” said DSS Secretary Laurie Gill. “Mental Illness Awareness Week provides time to focus advocacy efforts, dispel myths, educate others about mental illness and discuss available resources.

This year’s MIAW theme, “What I Wish I Knew,” emphasizes the power of lived experience. Events taking place during this week include:

  • October 4 is the National Day of Prayer for Recovery and Understanding of Mental Illness. This is a time when mental health networks and faith leaders in South Dakota are working together to help individuals and communities find healing and recovery.
  • October 6 is National Depression Screening Day. Screenings are not diagnostic, but they can help determine if a person has symptoms associated with depression.

The National Alliance on Mental Illness website features videos of people sharing their experiences with mental health issues. To access the video series as well as blogs and personal stories, visit nami.org. For information on depression screening and support, visit mhanational.org.

“The message this week is that it’s important to maintain mental health, learn the symptoms of mental illness, and know how to get help when you need it,” Gill said. “Individuals are more likely to seek professional help for physical health than for mental health due to the stigma surrounding mental health services. There’s no shame in asking for help.”

If you or a loved one is struggling with a mental health issue, please visit dss.sd.gov or call the South Dakota Treatment Resource Hotline at 1-800-920-4343 to find a local mental health provider. 988 is available 24/7 to provide free and confidential care. Just call, text or discuss 988.

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