My name is Ashley and here’s my story:
I founded the Canadian division of Project HEAL: Help to Eat, Accept and Live after recovering from my own eating disorder as a teenager. Project HEAL’s mission is to raise treatment funds for individuals who can not afford treatment, as well as to raise awareness for eating disorders. Our strides we have made in the global community have been phenomenal, with over 30 chapters across the US, Canada and now Australia! Personally, I mentor and help find resources for individuals and their families affected by an eating disorder. Although I am by no means a substitute for professional help, being able to offer my support to those struggling means the world to me.
I am a believer that full recovery is possible. After all, I am living proof of this! I’ve developed a passion for mental health awareness and have spoken at various student conferences such as Unleash the Noise. I am also the Youth Co-Lead on a really awesome national initiative to transform mental health services for youth across Canada. It’s given me the opportunity to connect with some amazingly talented youth who share a mutual passion for improving mental health services for young people. This is how things evolve over time, people!
I am super excited to seeing how our project progresses in the next few years. Recovering from my own mental illness was the scariest and most empowering experience of my life. Although I’ve found that the growing number of awareness efforts for mental health have helped support so many young people, it is my belief that we still have a while to go. Initiatives like Wear Your Label are so important for the destigmatization of mental health – I’m humbled to be a Community Champion and so proud to wear my WYL gear. There is no doubt in my mind that such incredible efforts will positively impact the way youth with mental health issues are perceived, and how they perceive themselves. As for the next steps, I’d say let’s continue to drive this transformation forward. Jump in that pool!
- Ashley, @ashleytritt