End The Stigma Together ~ Mental Health Awareness Month

Hey beautiful! Today I want to share something very close to my heart. May is National Mental Health Awareness Month, and as many of you know, I’m a passionate advocate for mental health awareness and support. All month long, I’m sharing chats, videos, and information about mental health on my Instagram @karenadawn. I hope you’ll join me there!

I am so passionate about mental health awareness because I grew up with a mother who had a mental health condition. When you have a parent who is dealing with a mental health condition, you go through a lot of childhood trauma and as a result, I fell into a deep sadness, anxiety, and struggled through my teen years and early 20s. Through fitness, meditation, and community, I began to heal and find myself again. (You can read more about my personal journey here.)

I used to feel ashamed of my past, but now I’ve come to own my story. The more I share myself with the TIU community, the more love, support, and strength I feel. And I have heard from so many of you that you have also been affected by a mental health condition — whether personally or through a loved one. None of us are alone. In fact, 1 in 5 Americans are affected by a mental health condition. My goal is to help end the stigma around mental illness. When I was growing up, no one talked about mental health and there were very few resources to turn to. That is changing, and I want to be part of that change.

Many of you know I’ve been involved with NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness. When Bobby and I first got married, we did their 12-week Family-to-Family course for families who have a loved one with a mental health condition. Now I work with their End the Silence program, where I go to local high schools and speak to students about how to recognize and cope with mental health conditions and talk about suicide prevention.

Last month, I was honored to celebrate my birthday with NAMI alongside board member and mental health advocate Dorit. We celebrated life with yoga, meditation, and so many beautiful connections. Seeing women come together and really open up to each other made my birthday wishes come true!

Today I’m so excited to share a video and pics from the event. Scroll down to see more of the beautiful celebration!

And for any of you who may be struggling or going through something, I want you to know you’re never alone. It’s OK to not be OK, to not be perfect. Let’s keep this conversation going and talk openly with each other.

If you ever need a resource, I encourage you to check out NAMI, Livin, and To Write Love On Her Arms. And if you want to get involved with NAMI, DM me to get more info. And remember you can always find meditations, which have been life-changing for me in my journey, in the On Demand section of your Tone It Up app.

I’m always here to talk and listen. What do you want to talk about next? Let me know in the comments!

Sending you so much love,

Karena

Pics From My Birthday Celebration!

COMMENTS 12

  1. Karena,
    You are a true hero. Thank you for bringing awareness to mental health, this is so important. This is why I love Tone it Up so much, it’s not just about working out, its about mind, body, and spirit. You and Katrina are amazing and thank you for all you do. Happy belated birthday and much love to you.
    Shannell

  2. The vulnerability you (and Katrina as a new mama) have been demonstrating over the past year has been so inspiring! I’m so glad you are sharing your story and modeling wellness for body and mind.

  3. Karena, thank you for bravely sharing your story with us! I’ve loved seeing how you and Katrina have both developed a clear space to speak into others lives — you with meditation and mental health awareness, and Katrina with motherhood and postnatal care. And this is in addition to the amazing work you both do to help women live their best lives, feel healthy and strong, and love their bodies! I’m in awe of what you do, and incredibly grateful for how you make things like meditation approachable for people like me — I know I need it :)

    1. Thank you so much Laura! That to truly means the world to Kat and me. We are so honored and grateful to have you in this community! Sending you so much love 🤗

  4. Thank you so much for awareness you are spreading, and for speaking out on mental illness, especially to high school kids. I had my first suicide attempt when I was 13 (many years ago – I’m now married with children) and it’s been decades of dealing with bipolar disorder, a severe anxiety disorder and a life threatening eating disorder.

    What finally helped me (besides finally getting properly diagnosed and therapy and meds) was getting back into fitness and yoga and now meditation. So I can relate to your story of how fitness and meditation has helped you. It truly make a huge difference and feels so empowering and helps with anxiety and depression so much. I still struggle, and have good and bad days, but I’m pretty much stable with no severe episodes in years. I love your meditations and they get me through some hard days. Please keep them coming!

    Thank you again for spreading love, light and hope!!!! xoxo

  5. It is so inspiring to hear how much you’ve overcome. I’ve struggled with severe depression and anxiety since I was a teenager, and have fought hard to against those thoughts that make me want to just give in. But I’ve also found strength in staying health and fit — and even when I get down or fall off the fitness wagon — I have to keep telling myself that I can get back to where I was! Thank you for sharing :)

  6. Thank you for sharing, Karena. I’m a psychology student from Belgium and know that this subject is very important. Not just in America, but in the whole world! I had a troubling childhood and struggled into my late adolescent but finally feel like I have a bit of control over the anxiety and sadness. It’s crazy how many people still don’t know about these issues that 1/4 (!) individuals face every day. It’s people like you who are so powerful in helping to overcome the taboo. TIU gives me a community. A place where all women support each other. Thank you.

    1. Thank you so much for sharing your story! Kat and I are so honored to have you in this community 🤗

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