Mental Health Education – Eating Disorders

Posted by mentalhealthtv on February 14th, 2020

When celebrities share their struggles with mental health problems it helps to raise awareness of the issues and how badly they can be ruining lives in secret. Recently, it came to light that Taylor Swift had struggled with an eating disorder in the past. However, the reaction of the public has been mixed. I’ve seen many comments towards her saying that she was ‘irresponsible’ for showing her body in the past ‘if her eating disorder was such a big problem for her’, claiming that she would have been influencing young girls to look the way she did when she was hardly eating. This is a clear example of the stigma and lack of knowledge surrounding eating disorders.

When somebody is struggling with an eating disorder, they may not realise quite how dangerous and unhealthy their eating disorder is. They may not even realise that they have a problem. The preoccupation with food takes over their lives, to the point that they could also be blind to the fact they may be influencing other people to be the same. There is a huge lack of empathy on the subject, even with the media – for example, we’re always seeing before and after photos about weight gain and loss. There is a mixed message of praise for weight loss, followed by concern and/or ridicule for too much weight loss, but criticism for weight gain. There is no winning. This damages not only the subject of the ‘story’, but the readers. The obsession of weight gain and loss is normalised but also sensationalised by these stories. This leads to an eating disorder being perceived as, ‘not that bad’ or even sometimes to be desired, which is dangerous considering eating disorders have the highest mortality rates.

Another unhelpful comment I have seen is, “I wish I could have the strength to be anorexic.” This not only shows lack of knowledge on the subject but a distorted view on body image. Comments like these could trigger somebody who has anorexia and make them worse, or trigger somebody vulnerable to start eating in a disordered manner.

Diet culture also makes disordered eating habits seem acceptable to society, when actually they can be damaging. They can result in malnutrition, metabolic disorders later in life, and diabetes. Everybody’s different, and will respond in a different way to certain diets.

The biggest problem with lack of education on eating disorders is that some people think that it is as simple as somebody choosing to eat less, and to fix it, you just have to eat more. Although somebody suffering with anorexia would need to eat more as a part of recovery, it does not solve the problem. Eating disorders need to be treated properly, and patients need to be fully supported. There needs to be more education on the subject of overall mental health in schools, but not just focusing on anxiety and depression. Educating the young on eating disorders could change their futures for the better.

Like it? Share it!


About the Author

Joined: June 26th, 2019
Articles Posted: 9

More by this author