Libero Network is a nonprofit organization made up of an online magazine, online support forums, and social networks that aim to offer resources and support to men and women alike who are recovering from eating disorders, depression, addiction, self-injury, and anxiety.
Libero Network was founded in 2010 by Lauren Bersaglio. Lauren had been struggling with an eating disorder and self-injury for five years, and for the most part, she kept these struggles a secret. In April 2010, she decided to enter into recovery, and feeling trapped by all the secrecy, decided to come out publicly about her struggles. She wrote an article and entitled it “Libero,” which is the Italian word for “Free.” Through this article, Lauren was able to not only share her story as a way to inspire others, but she was also able to free herself from the burden she’d felt from keeping it all inside.
Shortly after this article was published in her school paper, Lauren decided to open a Facebook page aimed at offering support to those recovering from eating disorders and also at promoting body positivity. Lauren also began blogging about her recovery journey.
As time went on, Lauren found more and more people writing in to share their stories – not all of the stories were about eating disorders, though; there were stories about depression, anxiety, and various addictions as well. Despite the fact these individuals weren’t going through the exact same struggles Lauren was, they were still able to relate on a deeper level. At the core it all came down to two things: finding self-acceptance and breaking free from secrecy.
In light of this, Lauren decided to expand Libero’s focus to go beyond only eating disorder recovery. She also began to accept guest submissions to her blog – allowing others the opportunity to share their stories the way she had. As time went on, more and more people wanted to be involved, and Lauren opened a website separate from her personal blog, and began accepting applications to join the writing team – and thus Libero Network was born.
While in recovery, Lauren found there were many websites and blogs out there, but often the blogs were unreliable – one day promoting recovery, the next, being incredibly triggering – and websites were more impersonal, sharing statistics and articles aimed at raising awareness. There wasn’t really anything in between. So she decided that would be the focus of the Libero Network site – to share stories in a personal, informal way, while also providing recovery support and resources, all the while being edited for quality and moderated to ensure the site remained trigger-free.
Four years later, Libero Network has over a dozen contributors, three facebook recovery support groups, multiple social media networks, and two spin-off projects (#stopfitspiration, and a Body Positive column). In addition, in 2013 Libero Network launched a Community Blog where people can submit photos holding signs sharing what they are “free from” and also share their stories in order to encourage and support others while also breaking down the walls of stigma, secrecy, and shame.
What began as a simple story and a Facebook page has now grown into an entire community of people encouraging and supporting each other as we all move towards one goal: self-acceptance and freedom.
Commuity Blog: www.liberonetwork.com/voicingfreedom
ED Support group: www.facebook.com/groups/edfighters