Eating Disorder Awareness Week 2018 runs from the 26th of February to the 4th of March.
This year’s theme is ‘Why Wait’, which aims to spread the importance of early intervention among Eating Disorders. Someone with an ED waits, on average, 3 years until they reach out for help, and this EDAW we want to show that it is absolutely ok to ask for help when struggling. Early intervention is critical in the treatment of EDs and increases chances of recovery while reducing the degree of long-term side-effects.
Below are some simple things you can do this Eating Disorder Awareness Week as a way of educating yourself and focusing public attention on the topic of eating disorders…
- Read– There are tons of books out there which explain what it’s like to have an eating disorder as told from sufferer’s points of view, both autobiographies and fiction. Libraries usually have excellent sections on books about mental health, including informative eating disorder books. The internet seems to be a first choice nowadays for finding information but be sure to visit legit sites with up to date and truthful resources. Stay clear of any pro-Ana type sites (which are terribly damaging and horrifyingly untruthful).
- Listen– Be there for friends who need a platform to spill their thoughts or let out their feelings. If you notice someone displaying any sort of eating disorder tendencies, however small, ask if they want to talk about it. Don’t be pushy or aggressive, just be the person you would like to talk to if you were having trouble. You don’t need to be a talking self-help guide, just being there and LISTENING with even no input to the conversation but your own ears, is very helpful for someone who is experiencing difficulties with eating/body issues.
- Raise money– Eating disorder charities, such as Bodywhys in Ireland, do fantastic work to help sufferers of ED’s as well as their families and friends. Free online support groups for adults and youth are run weekly by volunteers, which are valuable to many people, especially those with no access to therapy. They provide an endless amount of resources on their website, run events, information stands, school talks etc. Next time you hold a fundraiser, consider organisations such as Bodywhys as your chosen charity.
- Attend a talk– Have a look to see if there are any talks/information stands near to where you live during EDAW. Even if you don’t know anyone personally with an ED, having knowledge on the issue will give you the opportunity to raise awareness. Bring along a friend or family member to widen the circle of public knowledge.
- Social Media– After being fully equiped with information from books and talks 😉, you can now hop on to your favourite social media platform to spread the message. Share useful resources on Facebook or post a pic to Instagram, it doesn’t matter if one person or 1000 people see it, either way you are reducing the stigma and bringing public attention to Eating Disorders this Eating Disorder Awareness Week.
This post was sent to us from Vietnam by our ambassador Megan, who is kicking ass as an English teacher. Megan has come a long way from where she was a few years ago. Read her story here.