An experienced medical professional, Dr. Morris Kharasch is a physician and president of professional staff with NorthShore University HealthSystem in Evanston, Illinois. Dr. Morris Kharasch’s charitable interests include the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI).
Throughout the year, NAMI supports a number of events designed to promote awareness of mental health issues in society. The organization’s primary awareness events feature both local and national pieces. Participants show their support, combat negative myths and stigma, and educate themselves and others about mental illness.
Established in 2008, National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month, NAMI’s July advocacy and awareness initiative, focuses individuals who are minorities. Cultural stigmas surrounding mental illness can be deep-seated. NAMI produces Spanish- and English-language materials designed to foster open conversations about mental health specifically within African American and Latino communities.
In September, NAMI redirects its general focus to recognize Suicide Prevention Awareness Month. The alliance organizes talks that promote open discussion of suicide and encourages individuals to learn how they can best help those at risk.
The first full week of October is Mental Illness Awareness Week. The week was designated in 1990 by the U.S. Congress to recognize and enhance the work of NAMI. In 2015, the week revolved around the theme of becoming stigma-free and the importance of seeing past a diagnosis to the real person beneath.
May is Mental Health Month. NAMI works with local organizations to highlight mental health issues, allowing people to join together in support of the one in five Americans who has or will develop a mental illness. Children’s Mental Health Awareness Week also takes place in May. NAMI maintains a similar agenda as the rest of the month, with a specific focus on how U.S. youth are affected by mental illness.