Febuary 27th – 5 March is Eating Disorders Awareness Week here in the UK hosted by Beat. This year the theme is all about men.
eating disorders awareness week 2023
Today’s post will be talking about all things Eating Disorders Awareness Week, something we cover every year on my blog. The theme of 2023 is men, and Beat have produced the short video below as to why this is so important to discuss.
EDAW 2023 Theme
This year, we’re talking all about men. I’ve often talked about the stigma men face in speaking about their mental health and the build-up it takes to have the confidence to say something in the first place.
Eating disorders are no different, and Beat’s research shows 1 in 4 people with an eating disorder are men, and only 1 in 3 of those have actually received treatment.
With the current lack of understanding and stimga these statistics may be under reported still.
With an 84% increase in the number of hospital admissions in the last five years and a 66% increase in children receiving urgent treatment since 2019 it’s clear eating disorders are on the rise.
There has been a lot of positive conversation in recent years about beating stigma and encouraging not just men but anyone who is struggling with their mental health to reach out to those around them.
One concern about speaking up is what you will reach out to. It’s the perception that you will not be believed or taken seriously, and Beat’s video highlights some of the negative responses men fear.
Things like putting it down to fussy eating or that just being how they are. It’s the classic “nothing to see here” rather than admitting there is an issue which needs to be addressed.
These can discourage people from reaching out and delay the time it takes to get support when they do.
Such comments are shown to have a real impact with 1 in 5 men choosing not to reach out at all. As we all know, eating disorders are serious, and in some cases fatal. Like all things health, it’s important to identify issues early for the best chances of recovery.
Awareness weeks like edaw are about starting a conversation. For me, they’re about creating a space where there is a conversation closer to the surface it feels less daunting to join.
It goes without saying that conversations about mental health are hard on both sides. Not only is it hard to reach out initially it can be difficult to accept someone close to you has a problem, with it being easier to put down to harmless things like picky eating.
Beat is encouraging men to reach out this week and have real conversations about what they face. This is something we can all play a part in taking concerns seriously rather than just passing them off.
Finally I’d like to end this blog with a roundup of the content I’ve been reading this week.
EDAW 2023 Community Content
First, I want to share the Helpline Finder from Beat. If you’re looking to reach out but don’t know where to, this tool can help. You could also reach out to your GP with concerns.
Beat also has a number of personal stories published for the week on their blog.
This article is about Chris’ experience with an eating disorder as a gay man. It talks about the toxic stereotypes and prejudices that need to be addressed, so people understand their severity.
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.