Colleges can play an important role in reducing mental health stigma. Peer support services, coordination between on-campus and off-campus providers, and targeted services for more susceptible communities are a few ways to improve care and better support students. Students, along with administrators, can advocate for increased visibility and publicity of mental health issues and resources.
Eating disorders are not a choice. Eating disorders are a mental illness like Obsessive Compulsive Disorders, and they are treatable. I get a lot of flak for emphasizing the biological predisposition for eating disorders, for de-emphasizing the personal narrative, for banging on about "not your fault, not your parents' fault, not society's fault."
I believe that I am beginning to heal from past hurts and that I am moving towards a path where I can allow new relationships to form and existing ones to grow in a healthy way. I hope that in the future more people will come to know the hurt that exists in the world outside of the medical diagnosis. And I hope that others with mental illness speak out.
Mental illness in the United States of America is an ever-increasing issue that affects millions of individuals in various ways and to varying degrees of severity. While it's true that mental illness can sometimes be treated with great success, including the near eradication of symptoms in certain patients, sometimes symptoms are so debilitating that the individual in question is unable to work or otherwise provide for themselves. For these individuals, symptoms may never fully disappear.
My mental illnesses are diseases, just like my cancer, and need to be treated in a similar way. If I, myself, can't share my story then it indicates that I also have stigma so I discuss my mental health issues openly just like I do anything else. I have found that when I share my story, I have an impact.