Archive for October 9th, 2007


So I heard about this today. It’s on Thursday–every Thursday, in fact, of “Mental Illness Awareness Week,” the first week of October. It is “Bipolar Awareness Day.”

Or at least it is in the in United States. Or at least it is for NAMI: The National Alliance on Mental Illness. You can read what it’s all about here. And if you don’t know much or anything about NAMI, you can read about them on the site.

Now, I’ve never really looked into NAMI as I thought it was primarily a U.S. based advocacy group but in delving a bit further in learning about this event, apparently there are some NAMI resources in Canada–or at least in Ontario? But I can’t find anything about Bipolar Awareness Day or Mental Illness Awareness Week up here. No, it just seems to be more education based in Ontario and geared toward providing support for families and such.

So interestingly enough, MIAW was put together by NAMI with the assistance of Abbot Laboratories. Are you listening out there Furious Seasons? But you probably already know this. I do have to chuckle a bit when Big Pharma gets involved in any sort of endeavor. But maybe that’s just the cynic in me. Did NAMI need some extra funding to put it all (and other things?) together? Or was Abbot just doing this out of the goodness of their (misguided) hearts?

Still, I do have love/hate relationships with pharmaceutical companies as I will admit that “drugs saved my life.”

No matter. I do think that patient advocacy is always a good thing. You should all be aware of that through my blog by now! But a couple of the fact sheets that I quickly perused on the MIAW page on NAMI’s site had me scratching my head a little bit. I mean, it didn’t exactly paint a rosy picture of people with Bipolar and I wondered whether of not it would do much in the advocacy department. Agreed, Bipolar certainly isn’t a barrel of monkeys all the time but a few things on the sheet…well, if I wasn’t really “aware” and say…a bit more of an enlightened and intelligent individual, it might have me running away screaming like my hair was on fire from someone with Bipolar.

And the fact sheet on Children’s Mental Health? Erm…alright. Mental illness in children is a bloody hot potato! NAMI stepping in and making some pretty sweeping statements(?) about how diagnosable these illnesses are and effective treatments (Abbot…?) and then talking about suicide rates and their prevalence? Advocacy or sheer fright for parents?! I mean raising a a child or adolescent is difficult enough, is it not? That is not to say that your child may not be have a mental illness but again–this sort of thing is ill defined.

I did find a blog here with a rather sardonic post that made me laugh a little.

I still think Mad Pride would have been a whole lot more fun.