Eating Disorders Group Wraps Up Successful Awareness Week

The National Eating Disorders Association closed out its National Eating Disorders Awareness Week with a PSA from singer-songwriter Kesha. It also collaborated with Instagram on a new campaign.

This year’s National Eating Disorders Awareness Week, spearheaded by the National Eating Disorders Association, wrapped with a PSA from singer-songwriter Kesha.

“All you have to do is take the first step of being honest with yourself and decide that you want the freedom of recovery,” Kesha said, who struggled with an eating disorder in the past. “We should all be proud of exactly who we are and, if you need help or know someone who does, NEDA is here.”

Her remarks dovetailed with the awareness week’s theme: “It’s time to talk about it.” This year, NEDA focused its efforts on encouraging early intervention.

“Despite the prevalence of eating disorders—30 million Americans will struggle at some point in their lives—these illnesses are still surrounded by silence and secrecy,” said NEDA CEO Claire Mysko. “Our key goals built on this theme were to encourage people to take a screening and seek help if indicated; and to send the message that no one has to struggle alone.”

To that end, NEDA encouraged people to use its online screening tool, which allows them to answer a handful of questions to determine whether they should seek professional help. During the awareness week, which ran from February 26 to March 4, NEDA screened nearly 36,000 people.

This year’s campaign also had an Instagram component. While NEDA and Instagram had previously collaborated on a different tool to prevent suicide and self-harm, this new effort spotlighted Recovery Heroes. Participants took pictures or videos of themselves with the heroes who had supported them in their recovery and posted them to Instagram with the #NEDAwareness hashtag.

“Recovery from an eating disorder doesn’t happen in a vacuum—friends, family members, treatment professionals, activists, and inspirational figures all play important roles. The #RecoveryHeroes campaign is an opportunity to celebrate all of the people who make recovery possible,” according to the website.

According to Mysko, “The response and participation in NEDAwareness Week 2017 exceeded our expectations and underscored the reality that eating disorders are a serious public health issue.”

Mysko said the week’s social media reach was 538 million, and NEDA’s helpline traffic increased by 22 percent. In addition, 73 buildings in 34 states, including the Empire State Building and Los Angeles International Airport, were lit with NEDA’s green and blue colors, as a way of casting light on the severity of eating disorders.

“Eating disorders are complex, life-threatening illnesses that affect millions of people,” Mysko said. “It’s time to talk about it, get beyond the stereotypes, and recognize the diverse faces and experiences of people affected by disordered eating.”

Pop star and NEDA spokeswoman Kesha. (Wikimedia Commons)

Emily Bratcher

By Emily Bratcher

Emily Bratcher is a Contributing Editor for Associations Now. MORE

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