How Can I Get Involved With Eating Disorder Advocacy?

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Contributor: Crystal Karges, MS, RDN, IBCLC, Director of Content and Social Media at Eating Disorder Hope/Addiction Hope

For anyone who has been impacted by an eating disorder, either by personally suffering with one of these mental illnesses or by observing a loved one who may be struggling, the result can be life-altering.

Eating disorders are among the most fatal psychiatric illnesses and take a tremendous toll on individuals, loved ones and families involved. With so much at stake, it seems a great disservice to our community that there is not more being done to promote awareness, education, and advance the cause and need for professional treatment. Thankfully, the field of eating disorders is changing drastically, thankfully in part to advocacy efforts.

The Need For Advocacy in the Eating Disorder Community

Because stigma continues to surround these deadly mental illnesses, many people are grossly unaware about the dangers associated with eating disorders and the need for professional help, intervention, and treatment. In addition, many health policies are not conducive to covering eating disorders through insurance for treatment, which further complicate the struggle for those who may be suffering and in need of treatment. When eating disorders are not recognized on a national and international platform, this makes it difficult for the general public and health professional to understand how to approach these illnesses.

Advocacy efforts help forward the cause of eating disorder sufferers, loved ones, friends and families. Raising voices for those who may be helpless or unable to speak for themselves gives clarity and urgency to an issue that can no longer be passed over without implementing change. The good news is that with the power of social media, it is easier than ever to become involved in advocacy on behalf of the eating disorder community.

Knowing Where to Start

Girl in sunlightMany eating disorder organizations in the community are engaged in some form of advocacy: whether through resources, events, information and more. Some of these organizations include the National Eating Disorder Association, the Academy for Eating Disorders, the Eating Disorder Coalition, Project Heal, the Alliance for Eating Disorder Awareness, Maudsley Parents, and more.

Depending on what niche of the eating disorder community you might be interested in, such as policy, treatment, insurance coverage, or media, there are several ways you have the opportunity to get involved.

Consider reaching out to an organization that interests you about volunteer and outreach efforts. Advocacy can be something as simple as sharing resources, making phone calls, or participating in an event – but every effort makes a difference.

Community Discussion – Share Your Thoughts Here!

What are ways that you have been involved in advocacy in the eating disorder community?

Crystal Headshot 2About the Author: Crystal is a Masters-level Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN) with a specialty focus in eating disorders, maternal/child health and wellness, and intuitive eating. Combining clinical experience with a love of social media and writing, Crystal serves as the Special Projects Coordinator for Eating Disorder Hope/Addiction Hope, where her passion to help others find recovery and healing is integrated into each part of her work.

As a Certified Intuitive Eating Counselor, Crystal has dedicated her career to helping others establish a healthy relationship with food and body through her work with EDH/AH and nutrition private practice.

The opinions and views of our guest contributors are shared to provide a broad perspective of eating disorders. These are not necessarily the views of Eating Disorder Hope, but an effort to offer discussion of various issues by different concerned individuals.

We at Eating Disorder Hope understand that eating disorders result from a combination of environmental and genetic factors. If you or a loved one are suffering from an eating disorder, please know that there is hope for you, and seek immediate professional help.

Last Updated & Reviewed By: Jacquelyn Ekern, MS, LPC on September 18, 2016
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