The National Eating Disorder Association (NEDA) is the biggest nonprofit that is dedicated to supporting those affected by eating disorders. NEDA highlights that those affected by eating disorders are all different and the ways eating disorders present themselves are different. As stated on their website, “In the United States, 20 million women and 10 million men will suffer from an eating disorder at some point in their lives. Eating disorders are serious, life-threatening illnesses that affect all kinds of people, regardless of gender, ethnicity, size, age or background. In fact, eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of any mental health concern.”
Though eating disorders affect so many and have the highest mortality rate of any other mental disorders, there is not nearly enough research done on them and receives less funding than other mental health issues. NEDA wants this to change and they do this in various ways like promoting awareness, prevention and the accessibility of treatment.
Feb 28 – March 3 was National Eating Disorders Awareness Week. This year’s theme, created by NEDA, was “Come As You Are.” On NEDA’s Instagram, they are encouraging users to write down the things they like about themselves and post a picture of it to Instagram using the hashtags #NEDAwareness and #ComeAsYouAre. Users are to then tag NEDA and three people in their lives that allow them to come as they are.
Aerie, the sister store of American Eagle that sells intimates and swimwear, promotes body positivity regularly and became involved in this year’s National Eating Disorder Awareness Week. For every unretouched swimsuit photo posted with the hashtag #AerieReal, Aerie will donate one dollar to NEDA!
On Sat. April 27 at 9 a.m., NEDA is hosting a walk right here at the VCU Commons Plaza. They also host NEDA Walk on other various days in cities across the country. Participating in the walk is a great way to raise awareness and money for eating disorders and to support those who struggle.
Another great way to get involved is to call or write to your local lawmakers. There are currently moves to bring eating disorder education into the classroom, which would be a great way to spread awareness to youth and to prevent more cases of eating disorders.
Mental health advocacy is SO beyond important. Just by advocating for someone else’s struggles, you can help save lives. Take the time to get educated on eating disorders and get involved if you can. 30 million people in this country alone fight eating disorders. They don’t have to do it alone!