Dear Dukes,

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Although college is an awesome time to make friends, learn and have fun, it unfortunately can also be a time when mental health, body image and self esteem drop. February is Eating Disorder Awareness Month, so it is especially important to spread positivity and support right now, but also throughout the entire year. Mental illness, body image and self esteem are important, serious topics that those who struggle with these topics should not feel ashamed to talk openly about them with friends and family. It is time for our community to step up and be a support system for people who struggle with these illnesses.

If you are not facing an issue right now, be the support system. If you you know someone who has a problem or is just having a bad day, reach out to them. Don’t let anyone feel alone, be the person they can talk to. Spread love and positivity, be mindful of everything you say, because you never know the effect that it may have on someone.

4b7a4578126e4c11721d3444ed6fa883For those of you struggling right now, find your support system and hold on. Look to your friends and family, they love you and will always be supportive and there to help. Look to your JMU community where are so many amazing programs and activities offered. Lastly look to yourself; you are strong and your life has a purpose. You don’t need to be anyone but yourself, because who you are is amazing.

With midterms quickly approaching and almost half this semester done, 889579bbd149425ddd5d8c46ca932e59life can be quite stressful. So remember to take a deep breath and know that there is an endless community of people that care for you and have your back.

If you or someone you know is looking for support or wants more information, the University Counseling and Health Centers are great places to visit. Also many student organizations such as the Bare Naked Ladies, Active Minds, Operation Beautiful, the Public Relations Student Society of America and many more provide information, awareness and support for all of these issues.

If you have continued reading until this point, remember my main message: YOU ARE NOT ALONE!

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