National Eating Disorders Association

This week marks the annual Mental Illness Awareness Week. During this week, the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) and its supporters dedicate themselves to spreading awareness and understanding of mental illness across the country through support, education, and advocacy. 

Eating disorders are the deadliest mental illness, so taking a week to highlight the importance of mental illness awareness is necessary and vital. In honor of this week, here are some reasons why talking about mental illness is so important:

“Dear Melody” is an advice column by Dr. Melody Moore, a clinical psychologist, yoga instructor, and the founder of the Embody Love Movement Foundation. Her foundation is a non-profit whose mission is to empower girls and women to celebrate their inner beauty, commit to kindness, and contribute to meaningful change in the world. Dr. Moore is a social entrepreneur who trains facilitators on how to teach programs to prevent negative body image and remind girls and women of their inherent worth.

On September 21, NEDA asked Twitter to respond to the question “Does your school have eating disorder resources?” After collecting responses from 405 people, the results showed that the schools of nearly half of these respondents (46%) had no resources in place. The rest of the results were as follows: 14% said “Yes,” 17% said “Very few,” and 23% said “Not sure.”  

I think about where I am in starting The Cashmere Foundation, an organization that brings spa experiences into hospitals, one year in. And honestly, I compare it so much to where I was one year in my recovery. It was 11 years ago when I was 18. I had just reached my goal weight and was getting ready to move to New York. I was this new person, the person I was meant to be, someone who would continue to evolve, but the foundation was there. 

I came from a dysfunctional family. My mom was a prescription drug addict, an alcoholic, and sick all of the time. She was also a compulsive overeater. My father was a very violent man. When I was just a little five-year-old, I witnessed his violence in a really traumatic incident. After this event, I can consciously remember the start of my eating disorder when I was a child. Throughout my early life and into adulthood, I had issues with food.

September is National Suicide Prevention Month, and for anyone who has been impacted by an eating disorder, the awareness and prevention of suicide is necessary and essential. If you have been struggling with the overwhelmingly devastating thoughts that rob you of freedom and of presence in your life, you aren’t alone.

For me, recovery meant choosing to walk away. Recovery meant letting go of the things I wish I had had in the past: support, understanding, and nurturing.

It’s no secret that gender stereotypes are an omnipresent aspect of today’s society. A trip to a toy store, visit to a playground, or afternoon watching children’s television programs reveal that from an early age, girls are expected to be vulnerable and in need of protection while boys are supposed to be adventurous and independent. These harsh norms are often ingrained into children before the time they reach age 10. 

College is an exciting time. For the first time, you are an adult living on your own, making decisions and new friends, and starting to take a large step toward your future. You are excited, and also overwhelmed. Frankly, you are freaked out! 

After giving birth to her first child, tennis star Serena Williams has posted a letter to her mother publicly on the social platform Reddit. In the letter, Williams writes about the admiration she holds towards her mother now that she has become a mother herself.