October is a unique month. The temperature starts dropping and the leaves get more colorful, signifying that fall is officially here. It’s a month where everything is pumpkin-flavored, then suddenly everything is just a bit spookier. Halloween is just around the corner, and sweaters are being pulled out of hibernation. It is also unique not only in its festive change of pace but in all the awareness it brings to important occurrences in the world. For psychology specifically, there are three different events.
The first full week of October is Mental Illness Awareness Week. It is important that attention is brought to this because unfortunately mental illness is often not taken seriously. Everyone does not understand that it requires as much care as a physical illness would. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, each year millions of Americans face the reality of living with a mental health condition. Fortunately, this organization works to fight stigma, provide support, educate the public, and advocate for equal care.
On October 10th, World Mental Health Day is recognized. It serves a reminder that mental health is just as important as physical health, which is something many often forget. According to the World Health Organization, the overall goal is to raise awareness of mental health issues around the world and mobilizing efforts in support of mental health. With rising depression and anxiety rates in our society, it is especially important that mental health is acknowledged, understood, and taken seriously. So many lives are lost every year as a result of people recognizing the negative signs and still ignoring them.
Lastly, the entire month of October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. The color for this month is purple, and throughout October people are encouraged to “Take a Stand”. This is a call to action brought on by the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence to bring attention to this issue. The intention here is to bring attention to the countless victims and survivors and move forward to becoming a society that has zero tolerance for these occurrences. According to the Huffington Post, 1,509 women in the U.S. experience physical violence by an intimate partner every year.
It is important that attention is brought to all these daily issues, and fortunately there are a number of organizations, hotlines, and institutions that are established and dedicated to benefitting anyone struggling and bringing awareness to the general public. As we go through our daily lives it is easy to forget about problems like these in the world. In the psychology community specifically, we have a duty to maintain an open mind and make an effort to understand these issues. Recognizing the signs and being understanding instead of practicing judgment can go a long way towards making a positive impact in the lives of others.