You may find it difficult and stressful to approach someone you care about who has an eating disorder. You may wonder what to say, or be worried about what will happen as a result
Every day, we are surrounded by different messages from different sources that impact the way we feel about the way we look. For some, poor body image is a sign of a serious problem: an eating disorder. Eating disorders are not just about food. They are often a way to cope with difficult problems or regain a sense of control. They are complicated illnesses that affect a person’s sense of identity, worth, and self-esteem. [source: CMHA]
Helping someone who may have an eating disorder
People can, and do, recover from eating disorders, but professional help is almost always required. Unfortunately, the longer symptoms are denied or ignored, the more difficult recovery will be. If you or someone you know suffers from a possible eating disorder, it’s important to seek help immediately. Family members and friends can also benefit from information and help. [source: nedic.ca]
There is no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ way to talk to someone with an eating disorder and different approaches will work for different people. … Any approach needs to be carried out in a caring manner, in an environment that can support open and calm conversation. — nedic.ca
You may find it difficult and stressful to approach someone you care about who has an eating disorder. You may wonder what to say, or be worried about what will happen as a result. These are legitimate fears. Rest assured, however, there are things you can do to offer support. [source: nedic.ca]
We speak with Joanna Zelichowska, manager of Jessie’s Legacy Eating Disorders Prevention and Awareness Program.
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About Joanna Zelichowska
Joanna Zelichowska brings a significant amount of experience, passion, and leadership in eating disorders prevention and treatment. She is the manager of Jessie’s Legacy Eating Disorders Prevention and Awareness Program and is also a Registered Clinical Counsellor.
For many years Joanna was a part of the research team at St. Paul’s Hospital Eating Disorders Program where she was interested in understanding the role of self-compassion and social support in promoting resilience to shape and weight concerns and disordered eating. Joanna has been published in books, peer-reviewed journals, and has presented at national and international conferences. She is also the elected co-chair of the student section of the Eating Disorders Association of Canada and is committed to raising awareness about eating disorders.
About BC’s Provincial Eating Disorders Awareness Campaign
British Columbia’s Provincial Eating Disorders Awareness Campaign (PEDAW): love our bodies, love ourselves, is launched every year from February 1-7 with activities and events taking place throughout the year. It is a province wide effort, brought to the province by Jessie’s Legacy Eating Disorders Prevention & Awareness Program, to raise awareness around prevention and early intervention of eating disorders as well as media literacy, resiliency, building healthy body image and self-esteem.
British Columbia’s eating disorders awareness campaign coincides with the national Canadian Eating Disorders Awareness Week. The theme for 2017 is “Eating Disorders Are Not a Choice”. The focus for both campaigns in 2017 will be to continue efforts to debunk the stigma surrounding eating disorders by spreading the message that eating disorders are not a choice. The campaigns and campaign followers will use the hashtags #notachoice and #EDAW2017. Event information can be found here.