Dignity is every human's birthright, one value that can cut across all cultures and situations. All too often, those of us with mental health challenges have experienced their dignity being taken , though, by stigma and discrimination, forceful, demeaning and negative treatment, by silencing and shame.
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.