Eating disorders – including anorexia, bulimia and binge eating disorder – affect at least 9% of the population worldwide and are the second deadliest mental illnesses.
The last week of February is an annual campaign known as National Eating Disorders Awareness Week to raise awareness, support, education and advocacy for individuals suffering from eating disorders and their families.
Research shows that 28.8 million Americans experience an eating disorder at some point in their lives and approximately 10,000 deaths each year are the direct result of an eating disorder – that’s one death every 52 minutes.
Despite these harsh statistics, eating disorders are still commonly stigmatized, preventing people who are suffering from reaching out for help.
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“Often sufferers are faced with comments that include ‘you’re not thin enough to have an eating disorder’ or ‘just eat,’” says Stacey Nye, founding fellow for the Academy for Eating Disorders.
This year’s NED Awareness Week wants the public to #SeeTheChange each time someone reaches out for help and #BeTheChange by creating safe spaces in the community to help cultivate change for those suffering.
“This week is filled with countless opportunities for education, outreach and support,” Nye says. “This is especially important given the still existent shame and stigma that surrounds the illness. Educating the public, facilitating a sufferer to get help and spreading body positivity are just a few examples of a successful NEDAwareness Week.”
Here are a few centers around the Milwaukee area that offer eating disorder treatment services specializing in healing sufferers’ relationship with food and improving their relationship with their bodies.
- American Behavioral Clinics
- Eating Disorder Recovery Center Milwaukee
- Center for Discovery
- Hillary Counseling
- Iris Health Clinic
If you or a loved one are struggling with an eating disorder, call or text the National Eating Disorder Helpline at 1-800-931-2237 or text “NEDA” to the Crisis Text Line at 741741.