The last week of February is designated as National Eating Disorders Awareness Week. This year, the theme is “I had no idea.” The goal of the week, scheduled for February 23 to March 1, is to raise public and media awareness of the disorders, including anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and binge eating disorder.
The National Eating Disorder Association (NEDA) hopes to promote education about environmental triggers, symptoms, treatment, and biological causes of the disorders through the annual awareness week, as well as emphasize the seriousness of the conditions. Early detection and treatment improves the efficacy of treatment and reduces the risk of relapse.
I Had No Idea
This year’s theme, “I had no idea,” was chosen to represent the many facts about eating disorders that are often overshadowed by misconceptions and myths. Eating disorders can affect anyone of any body shape and size, gender, age, socioeconomic background, and ethnic group. An estimated 20 million women and 10 million men in America will suffer from an eating disorder at some point in their lives. Eating disorders are serious medical conditions and have the highest mortality rate of any mental illness.
It is easy to participate in the National Eating Disorder Awareness week and promote education about the pressures, attitudes, biological factors, and behaviors that contribute to the development of eating disorders at home, in the workplace, and in the community. Raising awareness promotes the message that eating disorders are serious medical conditions requiring professional treatment and not a lifestyle choice. Participation in the awareness week can help individuals, communities, and even medical professionals find access to accurate information and resources. It will also help people suffering from a disorder find the right treatment to overcome their problem and regain control over their life.
Participating In National Eating Disorders Awareness Week
Participation does not have to be complicated or time-consuming. A person can just invite a NEDA Awareness Week Volunteer to speak at his or her workplace, college campus, school, community organization, or any other group setting. There is also information to download at the NEDA website that can be passed around to local schools, workplaces, medical facilities, and community centers, as well as pamphlets and posters that can be posted in these locations.
Social media campaigns can also help spread awareness and accurate information about eating disorders. The NEDA website and social media sites have articles, videos, and other information that can easily be shared with a person’s social network. Although the awareness week is scheduled for specific dates each year, people can help raise awareness at any time during the year.
Helping Create Awareness
National Eating Disorders Awareness Week has successfully helped spread the word about the disorders in the past. Last year, activities led to over 5,000 people taking an online screening to determine if they had an eating disorder, a 40 percent increase in the inquiries to NEDA, the highest traffic ever on NEDA’s website, and a sharp spike in requests for NEDA Navigators (trained volunteers who provide support for diagnosing and treating eating disorders).
There was participation in every state in the United States, and social media campaigns spread awareness to 51 other countries. There was also an increase in overseas residents using the “click to chat” function on NEDA’s website. The awareness week also helped to raise money to fund eating disorders research, which is severely underfunded compared to other disorders.
Sovereign Health Group Supporting National Eating Disorders Awareness Week
Sovereign Health Group supports the National Eating Disorders Awareness week. We offer state-of-the-art, evidence-based treatment for eating disorders, combining individual and group therapy with alternative therapeutic activities such as yoga, nutritional education, meditation, equine therapy, art therapy, and music therapy.
In addition to eating disorders, we also have treatment programs for addiction, mental health, and dual diagnosis. We are Joint Commission approved and dually licensed to treat mental health and addiction.