This year’s Eating Disorders Awareness Week takes place from 22nd-28th February, and provides a great opportunity to raise awareness of eating disorders in all forms and raises money to provide support to those affected. This international campaign not only helps through support and finance, but also helps dispel some of the myths and stigmas around eating disorders too. With plenty of ways to get involved, everyone to do their bit for Eating Disorders Awareness Week.
About Eating Disorders Awareness Week
Each year, Eating Disorder Awareness Week serves as an international campaign to highlight issues surrounding eating disorders and work to overcome them. Many organisations take part in the week, including the National Eating Disorders Association in the US, Beat (UK eating disorders charity), Student Minds and others, all aiming to raise awareness of disorders such as:
- Binge eating
- OSFED (Other specified feeding or eating disorder)
About eating disorders in the UK
Eating disorders are estimated to affect more than 725,00 people in the UK, with more deaths from eating disorders than any other type of mental illness. The National Institute of Health and Clinical Excellence estimate that of this figure, 11% of sufferers are male. Eating disorders can have devastating effects, with anorexia leading to suicides and premature death in around 20% of sufferers. The effects of eating disorders also affect the families and friends of sufferers, with many patients needing significant care to help them on the road to recovery.
Eating disorders in the workplace
The theme for this year’s Eating Disorders Awareness Week is ‘Eating Disorders in the Workplace’. Whilst eating disorders are commonly associated with teenagers and young people, they can affect anyone, and the workplace is an excellent place to spot and support those who may be suffering from an eating disorder. The campaign will focus on what the impact is for workplaces as well as outline what employers and individuals can do to help those that may have been affected by an eating disorder. A report published last year estimated that eating disorders cost the UK economy £15.8 billion every year, making it all the more important for everyone to get involved and do their bit.
Sock it to Eating Disorders!
As part of the week, Beat are organiseinga ‘Sock it to Eating Disorders’ day that takes place on Friday to raise money for the charity. There are plenty of great activities which you can take part in, including:
- Wear silly socks to work or school – and encourage others to do the same and donate just £1 each to the cause.
- Customise your socks to match Beat’s colours (pink and blue)
- Do a sponsored event, in your silliest, brightest socks.
- Sell customised socks on eBay for Beat.
- Play sports games for charity wearing silly socks
- Have a sock themed bake sale
- Other ideas can be found in the Beat fundraising pack.
Getting help for an eating disorder
The first step towards treating an eating disorder is recognising that there is a problem and seeking help. If you suspect that someone has an eating disorder, Beat has dedicated helplines to help you get advice and support on what to do. If you have an eating disorder, it’s important that you see a GP as soon as possible to get treatment.
Don’t forget that NHS Choices has some informative resources to help you understand more about eating disorders and how to overcome them. It is hoped through campaigns such as Eating Disorders Awareness Week that more can be done to combat them and save lives in the process.