Eating Disorders Awareness Week

Each year Anorexia & Bulimia Care sends a campaign to churches and Christian organisation in order to raise awareness of eating disorders and increase understanding for those affected and their families. Last year together with our supporting organisations we reached over 40,000 people. Read on to find out more.

We are delighted to have their support again this year and Care For The Family?s letter of introduction from Rob Parsons. By focusing on one true story each year, ABC shares in a personal way, the reasons behind eating disorders and the impact they have on family life.

The campaign aims to increase understanding and support and to reduce stigma and isolation for those affected. It also aims to give church leaders and all those involved in pastoral care a better understanding of this growing problem, how to support someone and signpost them to ABC.

Director of ABC Jane Smith says, 'Eating disorders can claim as many as 300,000 lives each year and more under 18 year olds than any other psychiatric illness. The UK has the highest rate of eating disorders in all of Europe. Eating disorders are not about teenage vanity or defiance, neither are they the result of disinterested parenting. They are about anyone of any age trying to cope with considerable pressures of life that completely overwhelm them.'

This year's campaign from Anorexia & Bulimia Care tells the true story of Charlotte aged 11, who stopped eating the day her Dad was diagnosed with cancer.

Charlotte's mother says, 'Our little girl's eating distress was an emotional response to the sudden turmoil our family was facing. She didn't try to go on a diet and she wasn't influenced by fashion. She couldn't eat and that was her way of coping, coping with the fear of losing her dad to cancer and coping with our fears and worries. She'd always been a good eater, but suddenly despite all our reassurances and coaxing and all our considerable efforts to get her to eat, she just couldn't. To our horror, week after week she was losing more weight and because she was growing she became dangerously ill with anorexia.'

Anorexia is a complex psychological illness. It is estimated that 11 - 13 million people in the UK have psychological issues with food that result in them severely restricting their eating. Some studies show that 25% of 11-14 year old girls are struggling with an eating disorder and that 25% of those affected at school age are boys.

Charlotte?s mother wrote, 'ABC helped me so much. They really understood and gave me lots of helpful and practical advice so that we could all help Charlotte. Sometimes I just rang to let it all out and cry. It was so good to know ABC was 'there' for me if ever I needed to talk or ask questions ' I don't know what we'd have done as a family without them - they were a real lifeline.'

Please help us to help others like Charlotte's family by promoting this campaign by email to your contacts so that people in need can find ABC. More info from www.anorexiabulimiacare.co.uk.
Mind and Soul Team, 19/02/2010