Why National Eating Disorders Awareness Week MattersThe National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA) has announced its next annual National Eating Disorders Awareness Week—and it’s happening soon. February 26 through March 4 of this year have been set aside for this important event, and the team here at The Highlands is grateful for a chance to participate.
What is National Eating Disorder Awareness Week?What’s the purpose of this annual event, though—and why is it something that Castlewood at The Highlands is so passionate about? To answer those questions, we look to the NEDA website, which tells us this: “The goal of National Eating Disorders Awareness Week (#NEDAwareness) is to shine the spotlight on eating disorders by educating the public, spreading a message of hope, and putting life-saving resources into the hands of those in need,” it says. “Eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of any mental illness and will affect 30 million Americans at some point in their lives, but myths and misinformation still keep people from getting the help they need.” There are two important points to make about this description. The first is that eating disorders impact many people, yet they remain widely misunderstood; despite the fact that some 30 million Americans will struggle with an eating disorder at some point in their lives, the topic remains highly stigmatized. We don’t feel comfortable talking about eating disorders, and thus, misinformation persists. The second point, though, is that this lack of information has a very real, and very lethal effect. Many who struggle with an eating disorder don’t realize that it’s treatable; that therapy works and that recovery can be achieved. They don’t realize that they’re not alone.
It’s Time to Talk About Eating DisordersThat’s what makes it such a life-and-death matter for us to raise awareness, break the stigma, and talk honestly about eating disorders and what they entail. It’s also why NEDA has chosen this for its 2017 theme: It’s Time to Talk About It. We couldn’t agree more, and we’re passionate about this perfect topic. “NEDA is opening up the conversation about eating disorders as a growing public health priority that affects all kinds of people, regardless of age, gender identity, ethnicity, sexuality, or background,” the NEDA website explains. “By starting conversations, busting myths, sharing the online screening tool, and framing eating disorders in a more holistic way, we can reach new audiences by sharing resources and diverse stories of recovery.” It’s important to talk about eating disorders because the act of doing so helps us to fight false information, and promote real understanding. It also enables us to convey to those who are struggling that hope is out there, and that seeking therapy can be the first step toward lifelong healing. In other words, we need to talk about eating disorders because doing so can save lives.
Getting InvolvedThe question is, what can you do to get involved with this important week? Actually, there are many ways in which you can help promote conversation:
- Share your story on social media, and don’t forget to use the #NEDAwareness hashtag.
- Offer to speak about your recovery at a local eating disorder support group.
- Be willing to talk with your friends and loved ones about eating disorder recovery, not fearing the stigma.
- Share informative articles and blogs about eating disorder treatment and recovery.
- If you have a friend with an eating disorder, encourage him or her to seek treatment right away.