Students educate and reflect during Eating Disorders Awareness Week
By Nora Tidey, Staff Writer
February 23 to March 1 marked this year’s National Eating Disorders Awareness Week (NEDA Week), and Gettysburg students worked to bring attention to this important issue. The goal of NEDA Week is to improve public understanding of the causes, dangers and treatments of eating disorders as well as to increase awareness and access to resources. Gettysburg College’s Active Minds organization did just that by holding a discussion panel on March 3 to talk about experiences with eating disorders and address common misconceptions about eating disorders.
One common misconception that the panelists pointed out is that anorexia and bulimia are not the only eating disorders. In reality, eating disorders exist in many different forms and can manifest differently from person to person. While there are many types of eating disorders, they all have one thing in common: they have serious consequences on a person’s physical and mental well-being. In fact, eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of any mental disorder. Unfortunately, the vast majority of people with eating disorders do not get treatment. However, early intervention can save lives, making awareness of these issues one of the most important steps to combating them. We all need to be aware of the causes and the signs of eating disorders so as to be equipped to intervene when we suspect someone may be suffering, or even to recognize the signs in ourselves. In regards to how to appropriately confront a friend or loved one if you suspect they may be suffering from an eating disorder, one of the Active Minds panelists stated, “Confronting someone and doing it wrong is better than not confronting them at all.” Each panelist stressed the importance of addressing these issues sooner rather than later, even if it may be difficult.
Active Minds is an organization dedicated to using the student voice to change the conversation about mental health through correcting misinformation and encouraging young adults to take care of their own mental health through educational programs. If you are interested in joining, meetings are held on Wednesdays at 6:00 p.m. in Glatfelter 104. Special thank you to Sarah Van De Weert, Anika Jensen, Madi Caldwell and Ellen Rickes for brining awareness and information about this very important issue through their discussion panel.