UNH has a habit of addressing topics that may seem taboo, but are certainly worth mentioning. This month, UNH Health Services is hosting Eating Concerns Awareness Week (February 24 through March 2). This week, toting its theme “Everybody Knows Somebody,” is designed to circulate knowledge about eating disorders and body image issues, as well as to provide inspiration for those who struggle with such problems.
Everybody Knows Somebody week has many events I highly suggest you checkout: Tables will be hosted in the MUB Monday-Thursday, 11-1, or at Campus Rec Monday 6-8. Themes will be changed throughout the week, including: Mirrorless Monday, Trash Fat Talk Tuesday, Who Inspires You Wednesday, and Thankful Thursday; however, the climax of the week is a presentation by Becky Thompson, professor of Sociology at Simmons College, an expert on multiracial issues in eating disorders/body image issues. The lecture, “A Hunger So Wide and So Deep: Eating Problems and Recovery from a Multiracial Perspective” will be Wednesday (2/27) at 7pm in MUB Theater II. As you may have seen before, a life-sized Barbie will be in Dimond Library, in order to put into perspective the unhealthy expectations being placed in the minds of children today.
The title “Everybody Knows Somebody” hits home with me. I know two people, who I love dearly, who have struggled with eating disorders as a result of skewed body image throughout their lives. I have stood by their sides through their steps forward and back, their successes and relapses. I cannot understand the true mental, emotional, physical or psychological difficulties of struggling with an eating disorder, but I can emphasize the importance of educating yourself.
Although you may not recognize it, it is estimated that seven million women and one million men in America suffer from eating disorders 1 in 200 women in America suffers from anorexia and 2-3 in 100 American women suffers from bulimia. Nearly half of all Americans personally know someone with an eating disorder. Source: South Carolina Department of Mental Health
The best thing you can do as a friend, a loved one, or as a professional dealing with an individual with an eating disorder is to inform yourself of what it is, why the person may be feeling how they do, and how you can help them.
If you do not personally know someone with an eating disorder, someone you know does. Students are able to request an Eating Concerns Mentor on the Health Services Facebook page or on the website: http://unh.edu/health-services/request-ecm. Further, during Eating Concerns Awareness week there will be an online confidential chat with an ECM Monday (2/25) and Tuesday (2/26) from 7-8pm.
“The words “I am” are potent words; be careful what you hitch them to. The thing you’re claiming has a way of reaching back and claiming you.”- A.L. Kitselman
Written by Caitlin Duffy