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For World IBD Day on May 19, 2021, Girls With Guts took to our social media channels to highlight and share some of the stories about why Mental Health Matters to some of our GWGs! In addition to raising awareness on our platform, we asked our members in the private forum why mental health matters.

Read on to learn more about how GWGS take care of their mental health and why mental health matters to those of us with IBD!

Image of a woman (Charlotte) in front of a black backdrop holding a sign that says, "My mental health struggles weren't something wrong with me...they were a symptom of something that was undiagnosed and untreated."

Image of a woman (Charlotte) in front of a black backdrop holding a sign that says, “My mental health struggles weren’t something wrong with me…they were a symptom of something that was undiagnosed and untreated.”

Why Mental Health Matters

Erica says, “Mental health matters to me because my mental health affects others. Without my therapist and other mental health skills, I turn into a robot who can’t connect with her family because I’m stuffing it all away. Even if you’re struggling, people who really love you would rather see the ups and downs than the fake fine.”

Gabriella shares, “I’m blessed that at a young age my IBD care team recognized how important it was to treat the whole patient, mind, body, and spirit. Having a chronic illness can leave your body feeling worn, but can also leave you mentally exhausted and sometimes feeling there is no hope on the horizon. We not only have to work harder to achieve and maintain physical health, but we also have to consistently be aware of our own mental state and address challenges as soon as they can be recognized. To my IBD, Chronic Illness, and Mental Health warriors, remember to prioritize YOU. Your body and mind work in unison and one cannot achieve full health without the strength and wellness of the other!”

Arielle shares her story, “My mental health has always had its ups and downs and this journey is connected with having IBD in so many ways. I was diagnosed with both around the same time, and it will always be a struggle to manage. However, I wouldn’t be where I am today without the support of my friends and family, and for that, I am forever thankful. Mental health matters whether you have IBD, a diagnosed mental illness, or neither; we all need support, love, and understanding when times get tough.”

How GWGs Take Care of Their Mental Health

Image of a woman (Nina) outside holding a sign that says, "If more awareness for mental health existed, less would suffer in silence!"

Image of a woman (Nina) outside holding a sign that says, “If more awareness for mental health existed, less would suffer in silence!”

Brenna takes care of her mental health by giving herself a break and focusing on things she enjoys!

Manda commented during the day that for her, “It’s ongoing work, but I try to give myself breaks and grace.”

Laura shared that she enjoys “Everything dogs, I train and play and compete. Agility, obedience, nosework and dock diving!!” For her it helps her mental health because “It makes me happy and relieves stress!”

Jenny commented that “I do at least one thing every day for my ‘soul’ whether it is knitting, reading something for pleasure, taking a moment for meditation, or even just sitting on my porch listening to the birds. I do these things so I can keep my stress levels down, which helps to lessen my IBD-related symptoms.”

Check out the entire campaign on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.

Aslo, consider joining us for our third Virtual Summit this weekend, May 21-23 where we will be tackling the important conversations surrounding mental health.

Visit https://girlswithguts.wpengine.com/2021virtualsummit to learn more about the summit and read the schedule!

Image of different GWGS in a college each holding a sign with a letter, which spells out “Mental Health Matters.”

Image of different GWGS in a college each holding a sign with a letter, which spells out “Mental Health Matters.”

“Strength – noun (POWER):⁠ the ability to do things that need a lot of physical or mental effort.”⁠ This photo is representative of unshakeable strength, fearlessness and resilience. Every single one of us has our own IBD or ostomy story. Whether you have just been diagnosed or you are a surgical veteran, we SEE and support you! ⁠Mental Health MATTERS. You matter. If you need support, lean on us. Together, we have formed this incredible community of women empowering other women and it is SO powerful!⁠

We want to thank all of the amazing members of our community who sent in their stories, and participated in raising awareness about mental health.

A Weekend to Remember: Spring 2021 Virtual Summit Recap! Madhura’s Journey in India: Coping with Stigma around IBD and Feeding Tubes

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