Please note that this is an Archived article and may contain content that is out of date. The use of she/her/hers pronouns in some articles is not intended to be exclusionary. Eating disorders can affect people of all genders, ages, races, religions, ethnicities, sexual orientations, body shapes, and weights.

By Quinn Nystrom, MS

It is hard to believe that Mental Health Awareness has been observed since 1949. That’s over seven decades of raising awareness of trauma and the impact it can have on the physical, emotional, and mental well-being of children, families, and communities!

I have to note that the global events of the last two years have made maintaining a positive mental health state more important than ever. And also, harder than ever. That is why it is more important than ever to use our hearts, minds, and words to create a month of unity and understanding around the importance of mental health.

In May, National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) will use its tagline of Together For Mental Health to unite those of us who struggle with depression, anxiety, PTSD, phobias, and more. Their mission also includes working to eliminate the stigma attached to talking about mental illness. To achieve this, organizations all over the globe will use these important 30 days to amplify voices and encourage everyone to advocate for mental health.

Sharing our mental health stories and facilitating essential conversations is vital to creating a sense of unity and understanding amongst everyone, especially in the eating disorder world. Did you know that many people with an anxiety disorder or depression also have a co-occurring disorder or physical illness? This is especially true for those navigating life with an eating disorder. Living with a co-occurring condition can worsen their symptoms and make recovery more complex. As with all illnesses and disorders, it’s crucial to find the appropriate treatment, and readers can learn more about co-occurring disorders on the website.

How You Can Act:

Share Your Story: Yes, I know it can be terrifying to be vulnerable and share our triumphs and pain, but your journey may be precisely what someone new to their diagnosis needs to hear. NAMI encourages advocates for mental health to share their personal stories or share #Together4MH graphics and messages with your community.

Read Other Stories: Sites NAMI, Mental Health America, and Center for Change are filled with inspiring stories of struggle and triumph from people like you and me. NAMI’s website also contains stories from people who are just beginning their healing process, in the thick of their recovery or have words of encouragement and wisdom because of their long road to success.

Fill Your Brain: Education is understanding, and knowledge is power! The Mental Health America (MHA) organization releases a toolkit of materials to guide preparation for outreach activities during Mental Health Awareness Month. During the month of May, MHA, its affiliates, and other organizations interested in mental health conduct many activities based on a different theme each year. Check out this great story from last year from Nikki Rollo, Ph.D., LMFT, on “Curing The Stigma” right here on the CFC website.

Together, we can work to share a vision of a nation where anyone affected by mental illness is not only treated with respect but also is able to get the appropriate support and quality of care they deserve.