Campus department brings awareness to eating disorders

UNA participated in the 25th National Eating Disorders Awareness week last week by setting up tables in the GUC with educational literature and health officials to provide more information about possible disorders on campus. The theme this year is “Everybody Knows Somebody.”

Jennifer Berry, LPC, said the main goal of the event for Student Counseling Services is to bring awareness and education about all disorders and their symptoms.

Stickers were handed out that read “My worth isn’t based on a number” to put on scales. Berry also took “Proud 2 be me” pictures that had students holding a sign stating what they loved about themselves.

Disordered eating screenings were held in the Student Recreation Center. Students could attend these screenings to find out if they have symptoms that were progressed enough to be diagnosed with an eating disorder, Berry said.

According to research provided by Student Counseling Services, approximately 25 percent of college-aged women reported to engage in behaviors like binging and purging as a way to manage weight.

An estimated 10 percent of people with eating disorders are men, the reasearch shows.

“(Eating disorders are) pretty big, especially with the college population,” said Shane Lindsey, an MA intern who helped run the event table. “Some people have trouble admitting they have an eating disorder. We are willing to help them. We also want to bring awareness that it isn’t just women suffering.”

Some UNA students were receptive to the “Proud 2 be me” pictures.

“I’m just being supportive,” said Katie Birth, a criminal justice major at UNA who had her picture taken. “It’s OK to have those feelings of insecurities, but we are all created different for a reason. Why would you want to look like someone else?”

Some UNA students are supportive of people who are suffering from an eating disorder.

“Don’t let the mirror (affect) you or what you see,” said Kayleigh Bonee, an elementary education major at UNA. She had a friend who was constantly accused of being anorexic but never admitted she had a problem.

On March 13, UNA will be hosting an event for eating disorder guidance for families and friends of the people who are suffering from eating disorders, Berry said.

The event will start at 6 p.m. and will include advice from several doctors. It will also provide insight from a recovery standpoint by including advice from a UNA student, Kellie Blew-Jordan.

UNA provides free student counseling through the Health and Wellness service on campus.

Counseling sessions are confidential and can provide help for eating disorders and other issues such as alcohol and substance abuse, relationship problems and suicide prevention.