The week of February 22-28 marks the 2021 National Eating Disorder Awareness Week. This initiative has always been near and dear to my heart as a result of my own personal experience with an eating disorder, but I firmly believe it should have more relevance to many more people, regardless or not if they have been directly or indirectly affected by an eating disorder.
According to NEDA’s (National Eating Disorder Association) website, “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 lifesaving resources into the hands of those in need.
“This NEDAwareness Week, we invite Every Body to Have a Seat at the Table. In a field where marginalized communities continue to be underrepresented, we welcome conversations on raising awareness, challenging systemic biases, and sharing stories from all backgrounds and experiences.”
Not only is the NEDA week a powerful means to educate and spread awareness about eating disorders, the NEDA website and organization in itself is one that has been of significant assistance to countless individuals who have been victim to an eating disorder. I found out about NEDA and their work a few years after I had been at my worst regarding my own eating disorder, and their resources are ones I wish I had access to when I was struggling myself.
The NEDA website explains that roughly 20 million women and 10 million men in America alone will experience an eating disorder at any given point in life, and while the distinct reasoning behind what triggers the development of an eating disorder has yet to be identified, many believe they are the product of sociocultural, biological, and psychological factors.
There is a tremendous amount of stigma and misinformation surrounding the topic of eating disorders, and National Eating Disorder Awareness Week aims to educate and provide clarification on the matter in hopes of enabling people who are uneducated about this type of mental illness to better comprehend what they are, how they affect people in their different forms, and the long-term effects and implications they can provoke if left untreated. I highly encourage you to check out the NEDA website, linked above, and I ask you to take the time to use the #NEDAwareness hashtag via social media platforms before the week is out.