This week is Eating Disorders Awareness Week (#EDAW2020). And much like last year, I’ll be sharing some thoughts on the theme of carers and the resources put out by Beat.

eating disorders awareness week 2020

2 Heart Shaped Cookies with One Absent leaving a heart shaped cutout outlined with sugar.

I’ve never suffered from an eating disorder. While I’ve known friends, I’ve never had the day-to-day experience with one. So I’m not here to tell you how you feel.

I was struggling to even decide to write a post this year with the theme being carers offering support. But while thinking about the theme, I realised that this week wasn’t just to highlight carers.

It was to highlight everyone.

Even if we’re not suffering or caring for someone who is, we still have a role in this. We can still think about our treatment of people with eating disorders, whether it’s in our actions that we create a stigma for them.

Beat want a better future for everyone affected by eating disorders. That’s something we can all take part in.

I write this not able to tell you any more about ED carers than how obviously hard it must be for them. But I can’t even put into words what they’re going through.

In the mental health community, it’s the careers that offer support on a daily basis to our friends that are there to talk on the not so good days, and the Twitter family which keep us going. But what we go through also has an effect on them. Their own mental health is often overlooked.

Those supporting are often happy to do so. Ready to be the sponge to absorb what we’re going through. And they’re happy to do this.

But this can affect them too. Most people can deal with this by taking a step back, delaying a reply to a message, taking some self-care on their own.

But for parents and full-time carers, that’s not an option.

This week aims to highlight what carers go through. It’s to show that they’re not alone. So along with Beat, I’ll be highlighting the stories and experiences of those caring for others with mental health.

It’s important that we recognise that being a carer has an emotional toll. That may need support in itself, and that always isn’t forthcoming as it should be.

And that’s the purpose of this week.

Beat is trying to help everyone who has been affected by an eating disorder. Because everyone involved in recovery matters.

And that’s something that’s true for all mental health. That’s really the message I want to get across this week. Eating disorders, mental health affects everyone.

Having support for your low mental health, a helping hand for beating an eating disorder are crucial in moving further down an eating disorders recovery journey.

Those people who provide support share our journey and may need their own support to do that too. If we are to beat eating disorders, we not only need to make things better for those suffering but for those caring for them too.

That’s why I love the idea of this week. It’s including everyone who has a role in beating eating disorders. It’s not just focusing on one thing; it’s inclusive to all, and that’s a different take on mental health and one that’s needed.

If you haven’t already, I will encourage you to read through Beat’s ED pledge to support those who have an eating disorder. You can no longer sign it but you can look through the resources¬†

If you like signing things, Hope Virgo has an amazing petition called Dump The Scales. You can also go and sign. Again something I’ve signed and been encouraging you to on Twitter as well.

Let’s beat them.

By Jake Symons

Jake Symons is an entrepreneur and passionate mental health advocate determined to share his story to help others. Alongside writing on this blog he hosts Mental Monday: Mental Health Live a biweekly intimate and unscripted conversation about mental health.

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