LETS TALK ABOUT ED Eating Disorders Awareness Week 2015




See Change is teaming up with our partners at Bodywhys and Headline to put the spotlight on Eating Disorders Awareness Week 2015 (#EDAW15)


I had no idea

From See Change’s research on public attitudes to mental health problems and Headline’s daily analysis of media coverage of mental health, we know that eating disorders are still largely misunderstood, shrouded in myth and even dismissed as a phase or crash diet.
Throughout the week, we’ll be addressing the most common myths and misunderstandings and focusing on the importance of openness and understanding around eating disorders, recognizing the diverse experiences of people personally affected by eating disorder. Too often, signs and symptoms are overlooked as insignificant behaviours when in fact many of these are early warning signs of eating disorders.




Each day during Eating Disorders Awareness Week 2015, we’ll be asking people to #TalkAboutEd by focussing on the facts and leaving the myths behind. 

  • People can and do recover from eating disorders
  • Remember an eating disorder is a coping mechanism and it is not all about food and weight.
  • Remember you are asking a person to give up their way of coping so resistance is normal.

If you’d like to start a conversation with someone you are concerned about:

As a start, don’t ask the person for anything, rather:

  • Ask what can you do to help
  • Be patient and non-judgmental
  • Remind the person that he/she has people who care and support him/her
  • Understand that the person is not looking for attention or pity
  • Suggest to them to check out Bodywhys.ie

Further advice:

  • Inform yourself about eating disorders;
  • Plan a private, uninterrupted time and place to start a discussion;
  • Prepare yourself to listen;
  • Be calm, caring and non judgmental;
  • Avoid using your knowledge to nag or scare the person;
  • Only an eating disorder professional can make a diagnosis;
  • Directly express, in a caring way, your observations and concerns – use a phrase like “I am concerned about you and what’s going on for you”;
  • Explain the reasons for your concerns, without mentioning eating behaviours;
  • Avoid expressing frustration with the person;
  • Be gently persistent as you go on expressing your concerns. Ask, “Are you willing to consider the possibility that something is wrong?”  Expressing your concerns may be awkward at first, but such efforts can provide the bridge to help the person.  Even if the person does not acknowledge a problem during your discussion, you have raised awareness that you are paying attention, are concerned and want to be a support;
  • Offer to help find a way forward;
  • Have realistic expectations of that first conversation; The goal of a discussion should be to express your concerns about what you’ve observed and to let the person know that when and if they feel ready to talk or look for help that they can come to you.  You are opening something up rather than coming to a solution;
  • Check out Bodywhys.ie or yourmentalhealth.ie

 Check out Bodywhys’ listing of events this week: http://www.bodywhys.ie/m/uploads/images/bw-calendar.pdf


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