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Eating Disorders Awareness Week: Key take-aways

EDAW-2018

Every year, Eating Disorders Awareness Week aims to raise awareness of these mental health conditions that affect so many of us. This year, we were pleased to see some consistent messaging coming through for Eating Disorders Awareness Week, including:

As a nation, we need to educate ourselves on eating disorders.

Eating disorder charity Beat revealed that 34% of adults could not name signs or symptoms of an eating disorder. Understanding eating disorders and the way they manifest is so important because those struggling with the illness are unlikely to seek help themselves. They are likely to need the support and encouragement of those around them. We all have a responsibility to look out for each other.

Eating disorders are invisible illnesses that affect mental health, you cannot tell how healthy someone’s mindset is by the way they look.

Many articles, influencers and sufferers spoke out about the misrepresentation of eating disorders and that we need to stop associating physical appearance/weight with mental health. Those who could name a sign or symptom in Beat’s survey were twice as likely to list weight loss or being thin (62%) as a sign over any other, showing a lack of understanding in the wider world.

We need the whole story.

Rather than focusing on one demographic, eating disorder and representation, we need to step back and look at the wider picture. Eating disorders affect anyone, regardless of weight, race, gender or age. There are many different eating disorders which affect people in different ways. The medical system needs to take eating disorders seriously and not give so much importance to BMI. 

Here are some great articles and videos we saw during the week spreading these messages:

It was great to see such important conversations taking place, but now is the time for us to continue the conversation. We can only hope this week, a small drop in the ocean, has a ripple effect. Let’s keep us this momentum and keep fighting for better understanding and representation of eating disorders.

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Katherine Nicholls

Written by Katherine Nicholls

Kat is a Content Producer for Memiah and writer for Counselling Directory and Happiful magazine.

Written by Katherine Nicholls

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