Yesterday officially kicked off NEDAwareness Week 2017, y’all! Lead once again by the National Eating Disorders Association, the goal of National Eating Disorders Awareness (#NEDAwareness) Week is to raise awareness for the devastating prevalence of eating disorders in today’s society and to put life-saving resources into the hands of those who may need it– for themselves or for a loved one. This year’s theme is It’s Time to Talk About It, and I sincerely hope this campaign will help spark body positive conversation in schools, homes, and workplaces across the country. Anorexia Nervosa now has the highest mortality rate of any psychiatric disorder, so taking eating disorders seriously as a public health concern is LONG overdue.
It’s time we expose unhealthy dieting, exercise, and restriction practices for what they are and present the facts. It’s time to take action and use our voices to fight for mental health reform. It’s time to stamp out the stigma and increase access to affordable care and counseling. In a nutshell, it’s time to talk about it… all of it. So how do we start? Here are a few ways to get involved and show support for NEDAwareness Week 2017:
Get Involved: Be #AerieREAL
One way is to wear your support for eating disorder awareness on your sleeve (literally). For the third year in a row, Aerie has partnered with the National Eating Disorders Association to show support for individuals and families affected by eating disorders by bringing back their adorable and equally cozy Limited-Edition NEDA Tee! Buy a “Strong Beautiful YOU” tee now, and they’ll donate 100% of sales (yes, SALES not PROCEEDS) to NEDA. I ordered myself, Ashley Brooke, and Mash Elle a medium, and they fit us all perfectly– in a Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants kind of way.
Get Involved: Support on Social
Learn more about how you can use your digital influence to raise awareness for eating disorders during NEDAwareness Week 2017 here. They’ve curated a handful of pre-written messages and graphics for showing support on social media. They’ve also provided downloadable Twitter and Facebook cover photos
— Stephanie Ziajka (@StephanieZiajka) February 26, 2017
Get Involved: Share Your #RecoveryHeroes
Another cool initiative from this year’s NEDAwareness campaign is called Recovery Heroes. The NEDA wants to know who supported you on your road to recovery. Although there were many key players in my recovery, and I’m grateful for each and every one of them, my designated Recovery Hero is Ashley Brooke. Celebrate yours, too, by sharing a picture or video of yourself and your hero on Instagram with a caption talking about how they helped you on your journey using the #RecoveryHeroes and #NEDAwareness hashtags. Some posts will be selected to be re-posted on @Iskra, @NEDA, and @ProjectHeal during the week. You can check out mine below for inspo!
Happy Friday, y’all! To celebrate the upcoming #NEDAwareness week, I need to take a moment to thank the beautiful and talented @ashleybrookenicholas for being one of my biggest and most compassionate #RecoveryHeroes. ???????? Because of her love, support, and 16+ years of castle-hunting friendship, I was able to overcome one of the most challenging obstacles of my life— my eating disorder. Without her example of genuine friendship (since middle school, I might add), I would never know what it really means to be my own best friend, and I would never have mustered the courage to become an open advocate for body positivity and mental health awareness. I love you, Smash! #edrecovery #mentalhealthmatters @Iskra @NEDA @projectheal
Get Involved: Promote the NEDA’s Free Screening
Also, please remember that screening is often the first step. If you or a loved one may be struggling with food or exercise issues, there’s a free, confidential online eating disorders screening you can take or pass along to a loved one here.
Get Involved: Visit Your Local Landmarks
Dozens of iconic landmarks in cities across the country are pledging their support and will once again be lit in NEDA’s signature blue and green colors to put a spotlight on the seriousness of eating disorders on Tuesday, February 28th. Check out the full list here of participating landmarks here. Below are photos of the Empire State Building and SUNY Plaza in Albany last year.
Get Involved: Know Your Resources
And, lastly, for anyone looking for free resources– whether they’re for yourself or for a loved one, help is available, and you’re never alone. Check out the NEDA’s Help & Resources page for access to a confidential hotline, free toolkits and guides, and crisis support.
“When ‘I’ is replaced by ‘We,’ even illness becomes wellness.” Here’s to a great NEDAwareness Week 2017, y’all!