Loyola University Chicago

Gannon Center for Women and Leadership


Madeline Ohlms

Madeline Ohlms
First Year
Kirkwood, MO

The stigma attached to mental illness and, more specifically, eating disorders such as anorexia nervosa, is a present day social justice issue which I believe must be addressed. Children are growing up more worried about the number on the tag of their jeans then the number at the top of their math test. Teenagers blow out the candles on birthday cakes from which slices will sit, year after year, untouched on kitchen counters. Eating disorders kill not just people, but so too their potential to make a positive impact on the world. Therefore, these deadly diseases affect the world as a whole … An understanding of what an eating disorder is, how it affects someone, and how it can be avoided or treated, is imperative when dispelling the stigma attached to mental illnesses such as these. I would like to conduct surveys of Loyola students and use the results to educate my peers, enlightening them with the idea that the boy who sits next to them in class or girl they pass in the dining hall every morning is fighting a uniquely difficult battle, often going unnoticed or unsupported by others, not because of malice, but because of a lack of knowledge … I plan to use this leadership role as a platform through which to encourage, uplift, and give voice to others.