Newsroom > DHHS News Release

October 9, 2018

Julie Naughton, Communications and Legislative Services, 402-471-1695 (office); 402-405-7202 (cell);

Mental Health Awareness Week is Oct.7-13

Lincoln – Mental Illness Awareness Week is Oct. 7–13, 2018. Each year, the first full week of October provides an opportunity to fight stigma, provide support, educate the public and advocate for those with mental illness.

“One in five adults experience mental illness problems every year, and 50 percent of lifetime mental illness begins by age 14,” said Sheri Dawson, director of the Division of Behavioral Health of Nebraska’s Department of Health and Human Services. “Although many people today understand that mental illness is a medical condition, individuals and families affected by mental illness are still often subjected to stigma and discrimination, and sometimes do not seek treatment because of it.”

In addition to statewide services, recovery efforts, awareness programs and educational opportunities, the Division of Behavioral Health, the Office of Consumer Affairs, which seeks to provide opportunities for recovery to those who experience a mental health or substance use condition and those who support them. "We provide hope and support for individuals in their health recovery," said Brenda Moes, administrator of the Office of Consumer Affairs.

The Office’s activities include:

  • Hosting events to bring awareness to mental health and reduce stigma, such as the Lights of Hope candlelight vigil hosted by the OCA on National Overdose Awareness Day in August.
  • OCA People’s Council, which provides recommendations to the Department of Health and Human Services Division of Behavioral Health, including the OCA, on ways to best support adults, children, and their families in the journey of healing, recovery, and resiliency.
  • Promote and support a peer workforce with skills necessary to develop and sustain resilience and recovery.
  • Provide the consumer experience across and within systems of care.
  • Collaborate with community resources to improve access to needed services.
  • State Advisory Committees on: Mental Health Services and Substance Abuse Services, with members by statute appointed by the Governor’s office.
  • Resources for consumers, families and caregivers.

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