Project reaches out to those who struggle with eating disorders

Project reaches out to those who struggle with eating disorders

Thursday, February 9, 2023

Information Provided by Senior Life Solutions at Gothenburg Health

While February is often known as Heart Health Month, reaching the heart of those who struggle with an eating disorder is the goal for Ashley Chamberlain, Senior Life Solutions (SLS) Program Director. The SLS staff is offering support and encouragement during National Eating Disorder Month with the Beyoutiful Project. Community members entering the YMCA entrance at Gothenburg Health are asked to write an uplifting quote or message to someone who may be struggling with an eating disorder and body dysmorphia.

It is important to shed light on the myths surrounding eating disorders. Many people mistakenly believe that eating disorders only affect women. However, according to Isabelle Fry on Instragram @positive.mindset.dietitian 25% of those with eating disorders are male. It is also frequently assumed that eating disorders only affect young people but can affect people from six to 70 years old. Knowing the facts can assist people in encouraging those who struggle. Because people of all ages utilize the YMCA, Chamberlain and her staff have placed cards, pens and tape near the display so that positive messages can cover the entrance this month.

Eating disorder awareness isn’t just about physical health, it is about mental wellness as well. Eating disorders and mental illness often occur together. According to the website, one study of people hospitalized for an eating disorder showed 97% had at least one co-occurring mental health disorder with 94% suffering from mood disorders such as depression. In fact, 81% of people with bulimia also have an anxiety disorder, and 69% of patients with anorexia also have obsessive compulsive disorder. One-third of people with binge eating disorder are also diagnosed with major depression. Finally, one-fourth of people with an eating disorder also have symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder. (Research Eating Disorders under the “Co-Occurring Disorders” heading of the website)

Community members are encouraged to stop by the YMCA this month and leave an uplifting message. Senior Life Solutions is also a valuable resource for individuals over the age of 65. Contact them at 308-537-1030. To reach the National Eating Disorder Association’s hotline, call or text 1-800-931-2237.