By Brittany Rosso
LEWISTON, N.Y. – On Feb. 25, thousands of women and men will come together to shine a light on eating disorders in honor of National Eating Disorder Awareness Week. The annual week extends through March 3, and serves as a way to educate the public, spread hopeful messages and put resources into the hands of those who need them most. This week is organized by The National Eating Disorder Association or NEDA, a non-profit organization that supports those affected by eating disorders, while serving as a catalyst for prevention access to quality care (www.nationaleatingdisorders.org).
As stated on the NEDA official Instagram, communities across the country will join together to raise awareness via social media, free screening tools, participating in NEDA’S Body Acceptance Challenge, legislative advocacy, building lightings of blue and green to reflect its official colors, local events and more.
Today, our culture, society and media are often known to have complicated and contorted many of our daily relationships with food, exercise, and body image; this oftentimes leads to eating disorders and other mental health disorders. The existing stigmas and stereotypes are continually preventing people from getting the help that they deserve, reflecting the importance of NEDA week.
In the United States alone, 20 million women and 10 million men suffer from a clinically significant eating disorder at some time in their life. These disorders may include Anorexia Nervosa (AN), Bulimia Nervosa (BN), Binge Eating Disorder (BED), or an Other Specified Feeding or Eating Disorder (OSFED). According to NEDA,
“30 million Americans will struggle with a full-blown eating disorder and millions more will battle food and body image issues that have untold negative impacts on their lives.”
NEDA Week allows for a light will be shone on eating disorders, with hopes to break the stigmas and stereotypes, raise educational awareness, start journeys of healing and to direct people to support and resources that they need.
Those interested in hosting a NEDA event, registering as a NEDA partner to support the campaign or sharing their eating disorder story on social media are encouraged to visit http://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/get-involved/nedawareness.
If you feel that you, or anyone you know, may be struggling with an eating disorder the NEDA website is a safe, comfortable place to reach out to experts and discover more about treatment, help and support. You can also connect with NEDA through Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and Youtube to familiarize yourself with warning signs and symptoms, risk factors, prevention and other general information regarding the organization and eating disorders. Students at Niagara University can also seek help through Campus Counseling Services. For more information on Campus Counseling Services, visit www.niagara.edu/counseling-self-help-resources.