June 2, 2016 is the first annual World Eating Disorders Action Day. The goal of this day is to get more people to understand the severity of eating disorders and to raise awareness about this treatable illness. A public service announcement was filmed by actors Keanu Reeves and Lily Collins, where they read, in part, “Nine Truths About Eating Disorders.”
World Eating Disorder Action Day was created by more than 200 groups to raise awareness of eating disorders. The “Nine Truths” are based off of a speech given by Dr. Cynthia Bulik at the 2014 National Institute of Mental Health.
World Eating Disorders Action Day is Raising Awareness
Eating Disorders are still something that society looks down upon, and some people may not even agree is an illness. Today is meant to change the stigma with nine goals the organization is proposing as a global manifesto. Those are:
- We call for all front line providers (including pediatricians, primary care doctors, dentists, emergency room and school health providers) to be educated in the identification, diagnosis and referral to appropriate services of eating disorders.
- We call for accessible and affordable evidence-based treatment, with early diagnosis and intervention a priority.
- We call for public education about eating disorders to be accurate, research based, readily available and geared to end stigma about eating disorders.
- We call for an end to mandatory weighing and BMI screening in schools, and development of evidence-based health programs.
- We call for increased awareness of diversity in eating disorders, as eating disorders affect a wide cross section of the world’s population, including people of all ages, sizes, weights, genders, sexual orientations, ethnicities, nationalities, and documentation status.
- We call for community and family eating disorders treatment support programmes to be available for all.
- We call for research-based interventions to be delivered in schools and universities on the facts about eating disorders, and how peers and staff can best support patients and families during treatment.
- We call for government agencies to include eating disorders services as part of health systems, public education campaigns, and regulatory bodies.
- We call for the World Health Assembly and the World Health Organization to formally recognize June 2 as World Eating Disorders Action Day.
You can get involved in this effort by taking the pledge, and if you or someone you know if suffering from an eating disorder speak up! Together we can greatly reduce the unnecessary misery of suffering from an eating disorder in silence. Raising awareness of the health issue is the first step, because the more commonplace it becomes, the less fear and shame will be attached to reaching out for help.
If you are suffering from an eating disorder, call someplace like Willow Place For Women as soon as you can to start receiving the care you need. Eating disorders are treatable with the right professional intervention, and they do not need to be a life sentence. Health, strength, confidence and wellness can be yours if you take the right steps.
Together, we can help control the spread of eating disorders through awareness and taking steps to break down walls of social stigma.