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11 Lessons We Learned From Mental Illness Awareness Week

These are takeaways we should always keep in mind.

Saturday (Oct 10) is World Mental Health Day, which according to its founders at the World Health Organization (WHO), is dedicated to "raising awareness of mental health issues around the world and mobilizing efforts in support of mental health."

The day comes at the end of Mental Illness Awareness Week, which MTV has been participating with our #changetheconversation campaign. We've also been posting articles every day of the week to educate readers on the nuances of mental health issues.

The lessons learned from mental illness awareness week should transcend a day, or seven days, or a month. These are the points we should always be mindful of -- if we vow to keep them close, they'll make us more empathetic and understanding:

1. People with mental illness are more than what meets the eye. You can read about one young woman's experience with her boyfriend, who has depression, here.

2. TV shows don't always show an accurate representation of mental illness — so don't be fooled. You can read about TV shows missed the mark when it came to mental health here.

3. Therapy is an awesome option and you should never be ashamed. You can learn more about the value of therapy here.

4. Guys aren't exempt from eating disorders.

You can read about one young man's experience with an ED here.

5. You can't just make mental illness "go away." You can learn more about this, and what it's like to have severe social anxiety here.

6. There is no "on/off" switch to depression; no one wants to have a "pity party" for themselves. You can learn more about the misconceptions around depression here.

7. Thanks to online therapy, you can get better at living your best life in your PJs from your own house, in your car during a lunch break at work, or from a tropical island. You can learn more about online therapy here.

8. Demi reminded us that "People with mental illness are actually more likely to inflict harm on themselves and become the victim rather than be the perpetrators." (Also, Demi is a great mental health advocate through her campaign Be Vocal: Speak Up For Mental Health). You can read more about what Demi had to say here.


9. Politicians bring up mental illness every time there's a mass shooting, but the vast majority of people with mental illness are not violent, and most people who commit mass shooting are not mentally ill. You can learn more about the myths surrounding mental health and mass shootings here here.

10. Don't tell a friend who has anxiety that "everything's going to be alright." In fact, it's important to assure your friend that their feelings matter. You can learn more about how to be a better friend to someone with anxiety here.

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11. Words we say by accident — to our friends as jokes or in our shady moments — have a lot of power. If we use mental illnesses to insult one another, it's super likely that we'll alienate someone who’s living with that illness every day. You can learn more about the importance of language here.