Happy National Eating Disorders Awareness Week! Between February 25th and March 3rd, people across the globe will raise their voices to spread awareness about eating disorders and recovery. This year’s theme is Come As You Are.
Eating disorders are a major mental health concern in the college population.
Eating disorders can develop at any age, including between ages 18 and 21. Coupled with the stress of a major life transition, the desire to succeed academically, and our tendency to compare ourselves to others, many students find themselves trapped in cycles of disordered eating. Stigma often discourages students from seeking help.
Rates of eating disorders in the college population are increasing dramatically. According to a study cited by the National Eating Disorders Association, the prevalence of eating disorders on one campus jumped from 7.9% to 25% for males and 23.4% to 32.6% for females between 1995 and 2008.
Eating disorders often go unnoticed in males because of the pervasive myth that they only affect females. 25-36% of eating disorders occur in males, and they are much less likely than females to seek help.
Student-athletes are at risk for eating disorders. Competitive sports emphasize diet, exercise, weight, body size, and appearance in both males and females.
Eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of all mental health conditions. When the body is deprived of the nutrients and energy it needs to function, it shuts down. Certain health conditions are risk factors for eating disorders, and when they occur together, these rates increase significantly.
Eating disorders are treatable and preventable. Education and screening are the best ways to prevent and detect them early, and recovery rates are greatly improved by early identification and treatment.
There are resources that can help.
This screening tool can help you determine whether you need to seek professional help.
Use this search to find treatment options available in your area.
This list includes support options that are free or low-cost.
The NEDA Helpline is available between Monday and Thursday from 9am to 9pm and on Friday from 9am to 5pm Eastern Time. You can reach the toll-free Helpline at 1-800-931-2237. You can also chat with a Helpline volunteer here.
Want to get involved during National Eating Disorders Awareness Week?
- Take the Body Acceptance Challenge! Make the pledge to reject diet culture by accepting your body, respecting others’ bodies, and fighting weight stigma. Then share the challenge with your loved ones.
- Follow #NEDAWeek, #NEDAwarenessWeek, and #ComeAsYouAre on your social media platforms to learn more about the challenges and journeys of individuals who have experienced disordered eating.
- Learn more using the resources listed above.
- Register to participate in your local NEDA Walk.
- Make a tax-deductible donation to NEDA or Project HEAL to support awareness, education, advocacy, prevention, and recovery.
UniWellness Care is on a mission to make mental health care, including specialized care for eating disorders, more accessible to college students. Contact us to learn more about bringing UniWellness to your campus!