Febuary 28th – 6 March  is Eating Disorders Awareness Week here in the UK. Run by Beat, the theme of this year is GP training and the week aims to raise awareness and open up the conversation. 

eating disorders awareness week 2022

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This blog includes descriptions of eating disorders that some readers may find distressing. Support is available via Beat 0808 801 0677 or the Samaritans 116 123.

It’s the start of Eating Disorders Awareness Week 2022. Every year at the end of February, here in the UK, we take a week to discuss more openly and feature eating disorders to encourage speaking out and helping others be an ally. Set by Beat, the theme of this year is GP training.

Campaign Video

EDAW 2022 Theme

This year, Beat’s campaign focuses on GPs receiving training on eating disorders. Currently, on average, GPs only receive about 2 hours of training on eating disorders across their entire medical degree. While we can’t expect our GPs to be experts at everything, I do agree with Beat that this is very low for something that affects 1 in 50 of us.

There should be more training and resources available to GPs so they can look out for the early signs of an eating disorder, which do not always involve physical appearance, and are understanding and feel confident speaking about them.

The fact that 72% of those with eating disorders had to wait over six months to get access to a GP really hit me. That’s an incredibly long time to be without support, especially when your GP should be the first port of call for these issues.

Training is vital to create a positive experience for those that are struggling. Whether that’s because of proactively reaching out for help or being prompted to speak about it by your GP if they notice something. Receiving a good response and accessing treatment is imperative in stopping things from escalating into a potentially life-threatening issue. Getting the right help is such an important stepping stone to recovery. 

Recovery is something I’ve talked about so much across my blog and on Mental Monday. This doesn’t happen alone. There are some actions you can take yourself, like coping strategies, but being able to access treatment and see a path to that place of recovery is a necessity. Being able to access this sooner and receiving the proper support at the point of reaching out really matters.

One of the ways Beat is asking us to get involved in the campaign is to share stories of talking to your GP, positive or negative. A quick Twitter search will see the difficulties people face in accessing treatment, with some being told their weight means they don’t qualify. I’ve spoken before about Hope Virgo’s #DumpTheScales campaign which is working to change this.

There is progress being made. But awareness events are still needed to highlight where more is needed. GPs should have the training to feel confident in discussing eating disorders and be aware of the signs to look out for when working in the community.

It also gives those a chance who may be hesitant about speaking out. Reading the stories about others accessing support and worried it would be the same for them. Support is available now. While it may not be all the way there, it can be helpful for taking the first steps to recovery.

We can all be there. Checking in with our friends. Being open to talk to. These are little things, but making someone aware you’re accessible may be the push they need to open up and continue on their recovery journey.

This eating disorders awareness week, we can all have an impact. Being there for those close to us that may be struggling, and maintaining that after this week has long passed can make a real difference to someone’s recovery.

EDAW 2022 Community Content

Beat

We start with the organisers of the event, who have produced a number of resources to raise awareness for the theme and eating disorders. You can find these over on a dedicated page which will also give you access to Beat’s support resources. 

You can also share Beat’s social graphics which along with supporting the campaign can be a great way of showing you’re open to talk to. 

 

Finally, I’ll be adding to this section as more resources are published throughout the week. If you have been reading any then please contact me and I’ll be happy to list them here. 

 

By Jake Symons

Jake Symons is an entrepreneur and passionate mental health advocate determined to share his story to help others through his blog and YouTube channel. 

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