Roness pays it forward

By Amanda Duchsherer
Digital Communication Specialist

MINOT, N.D. –  According to the National Eating Disorder Association (NEDA), up to 30 million people suffer from eating disorders in the United States. In recovery since 2009, Troy Roness, Minot State clinical mental health and outreach counselor, contributes to that statistic.

He is also an advocate.

On Aug. 15, Roness took the stage at TEDx Bismarck with his talk, “Unbroken: Mapping the Path to an Eating Disorder Recovery,” focusing on eating disorder recovery, mental health, and faith.

“It was really a message to those who are still in the struggle and their family members about what to do if they feel like their loved one is struggling,” he said. “The talk was informational, but TEDx really wants you to focus on what the audience can take away from your topic. So, it’s not just telling a story but also what can we take away from it and actually use.”

While the TEDx format was different than past speaking engagements — his 15-minute talk had to be completely memorized — the lead up to the event had been a decade in the making, beginning as a thank you to Crosby, his hometown.

“After spending six months in treatment and coming home, they had been just so good to me and supportive, and I really wanted to pay it forward to show them how well I was doing and thank them for all their support. That’s what got me started in public speaking,” Roness said.

His decade of advocacy has led to many different opportunities, including working with the National Association of Males with Eating Disorders and Eating Disorders Coalition North Dakota. He has been a U.S. Ambassador to the United Kingdom’s Men Get Eating Disorders Too Organization, the inaugural Male Representative for the NEDA Junior Board and secretary, and an advisory board member for the global eating disorders organization Mentor Connect. His book, “Unbroken: Journaled Reflections of Recovery,” based on journals he kept while in treatment, is yet another avenue for his outreach.

As opportunities to share his story ebbs and flows, speaking engagements aren’t something he actively looks for. Nor does Roness charge for his services, only asking for travel and related costs to be covered.

“I feel like I’m getting to travel, I’m getting to meet a lot of people, and I’m hoping somebody is taking something from the message who needs to hear it,” he said. “I think the biggest amount of satisfaction I get is seeing a parent or a family member find hope. I want those who are a part of it, though they don’t actively have the illness, to know there is light at the end of the tunnel, that there can be.”

June 2020 will find Roness in Sydney, Australia for the International Conference on Eating Disorders, hosted by New Zealand and Australia, with the theme “Take a Different Perspective.” He will speak during the Sociocultural Plenary about “One size does not fit all: The spectrum of male eating disorders.”

Roness looks forward to sharing his message and meeting different clinicians and researchers from across the globe. He will also pay it forward in another way: with a plane ticket.

“Ever since I was little, Australia has been my mom’s dream destination and so, for her birthday, I got her a ticket to go,” Roness said. “I can’t take this opportunity and not take her with.”

About Minot State University
Minot State University is a public university dedicated to excellence in education, scholarship, and community engagement achieved through rigorous academic experiences, active learning environments, commitment to public service, and a vibrant campus life.

Published: 12/16/19   

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