National Alliance on Mental Illness speaks out about Thanksgiving stress


(WKBN) – Thanksgiving can be stressful for anyone struggling with a mental illness, especially an eating disorder.

“The holidays are tough for everyone, but especially for someone with an eating disorder and an underlying mental health disorder like anxiety and depression,” Hope said. Hanley, Executive Director of the National Alliance on Mental Illness Mahoning Valley.

Hanley said the holidays can trigger difficult thoughts while participating in various festivities.

“What am I going to eat, when am I going to eat, how much am I going to eat: these are all decisions that, for someone with an eating disorder, are very difficult,” Hanley said.

Some signs of added pressure at the Thanksgiving dinner table include moving food around on the plate, covering the plate with a napkin, and binge eating.

“People learn in different ways to deal with the pressure and the encouragement to eat, eat, eat. It’s something in our society here in America that is still there, ”Hanley said.

However, Hanley said there are ways to deal with stress on Thanksgiving.

“If you have to go to three Thanksgiving dinners because of family obligations, then look at ‘Is there a way to only go for two or is there something I can do to cut down. stress from that? ‘”Hanley said.

She also recommended support groups and therapy to help get through these difficult times. Family members and relatives also have the opportunity to help. She said it’s always best to speak privately with someone who is struggling with an eating disorder.

“Some of the most powerful words in our language: ‘Can I help you? “Because it lets the person know you’re there,” Hanley said.

NAMI is available to provide support and education to anyone struggling with their mental health.


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