October 2021
By Allyson McAndrews, M.Ed., Director of Marketing and Community Outreach

For over 30 years, our nation has recognized the first full week of October as Mental Illness Awareness Week (MIAW). 1 in 5 U.S. adults experience mental illness each year, and 1 in 6 youth (ages 6-17) experience a mental health disorder. These statistics reflect the millions of Americans suffering from a mental health condition; however, many are reluctant to talk about it, let alone seek treatment. Several disorders fall under the category of mental health conditions, such as Anxiety Disorders, Bipolar Disorder, Borderline Personality Disorder, Depression, Eating Disorders, and Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD). With so many people of all ages and different backgrounds living with a mental health condition, it is important that our firm highlights MIAW.
Because of the incredible advocacy work by The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), the nation’s largest grassroots mental health organization, Congress officially established MIAW in 1990. Since then, MIAW focuses on raising awareness to mental illnesses and providing support through educational programs, events, and fundraising. Through the various activities taking place this week, people across the country are working to fight discrimination and emphasize the importance of “breaking the stigma” surrounding mental health. NAMI’s awareness campaign for MIAW 2021 is “Together for Mental Health” (#Together4MH) and concentrates on improving care and crisis response for people suffering with serious mental illness (SMI). Throughout the week, NAMI is highlighting personal stories by those affected by SMI to help promote and kickstart conversations about these important issues. 
The global pandemic has caused a greater need for mental health services, especially for school-age children. Our youth have been adversely affected by the daily challenges brought upon by Covid-19. Students thrive when they have a daily routine, especially children who receive special education services, and over the past 1.5 years their routines have been drastically altered, causing an increase in stress and uncertainty. Throughout MIAW, advocates work to educate the public about the signs and symptoms of mental health conditions as they can often be difficult to detect in a child. 
If you believe your child is not receiving the proper educational services for their condition, we are here to help. At McAndrews, Mehalick, Connolly, Hulse and Ryan P.C., our staff and attorneys possess collectively over a century of special education advocacy experience, and we have been serving the needs of individuals with disabilities, including mental illness, for over 35 years. Our initial consultation is without charge, and most of our cases are handled without fees paid by parents of children with disabilities. We understand these are difficult times, so please do not hesitate to contact us today by clicking here or call 610-648-9300.

By Allyson McAndrews, M.Ed., Director of Marketing and Outreach for McAndrews, Mehalick, Connolly, Hulse and Ryan P.C. Ms. McAndrews is also a contributing writer and has been featured in various mental health publications, including The Mighty and NAMI.
Whether you are someone living with a mental health disorder, or are a loved one of someone suffering, there are many resources available:

We are a nationally recognized firm that provides families of Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, the Metropolitan Washington, D.C. Area, and New Jersey with exceptional legal representation in Special Education, Estate Planning, Abuse of Vulnerable Citizens, and the representation of individuals involved in higher education allegations of misconduct.
Main Office: 30 Cassatt Avenue, Berwyn, PA 19312