Eating Disorders Awareness Week (EDA week) is about enlightening people about eating disorders, supporting victims and encouraging people to come forward and speak about their problems. Reporter: Sohini Sinha Sub-editor: Fabeha Syed
This year the EDA Week is observed from 23rd February to 2nd March 2015. It is the week to make people aware about the gravity of mental illness and raise funds to help support those with eating disorders.
Gemma Domoney, 29, is teaming up with local Zumba instructors for a three hour long Zumbathon to raise funds for Beat, a charity supporting victims of eating disorders. Beat also supports those facing difficulties with food, weight and shape. The event will take place at St Margaret’s Sports Centre in Bushey on Saturday 28th February 2015.
Domoney decided to support Beat and organise the Zumbathon to coincide with EDA Week.
Commenting on the event ahead she says: “I am really looking forward to the charity Zumbathon, we have a great team of Zumba instructors on board and lots of people have already registered their interest so there should be a good turn out and we can raise lots of money and awareness to help in the fight to beat eating disorders.”
It is a cause that is very dear to Domoney’s heart. Her friend has been battling anorexia for a number of years and another close friend has recently been diagnosed with bulimia.
She also contacted the local press to raise awareness about the EDA Week and publicise the Zumbathon event. Having organised the whole thing within a few weeks, she is trying to make sure they have a good turnout.
Her reasons for fundraising are simply to collect money and spread awareness.
She says:“Within my circle of friends I feel I know far too many people suffering from anxiety, depression, stress, low self-esteem etc. and worryingly the on-going treatment often seems to be prescribed medication, keep quiet and just get on with it.”
She wants to see a change in attitude, not just towards eating disorders but also other mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, self-harm and addiction.
Another charity is also gearing up to enlighten people over this issue. Student Minds, a student mental health charity who believes that peer interventions can change the state of student mental health, will be running events and activities to increase understanding of eating disorders and signpost to local support.
Rosanna Hardwick, Charity and Communications Manager of Student Minds says: “A number of our eating disorder support groups will be running a two-part ‘supporting supporters’ workshop for those supporting a friend or family member with an eating disorder.”
Throughout the week, they will be sharing tips on how to cope with the challenges of university life while recovering from an eating disorder, as well as thinking about how to support friends and housemates.
With this, Gemma and charities like Student Minds and Beat hope to raise awareness of these diseases which will enable people to come forward at the early stages of these problems and seek the help they need.
Eating disorders are serious mental illnesses which comprise of anorexia, bulimia and binge eating disorder. Over 1.6 million men and women of all ages and backgrounds in the UK are affected by eating disorders, as stated by the Beat media office.