Shirley’s Mental Health Blog – March 2022

Read here for Shirley’s March Mental Health blog

Eating Disorder Awareness Week (EDAW) (28th February 2022 – 6th March 2022)

Eating Disorders are a distressing mental illness that are estimated to affect 1 in 50 people in the UK. As well as Bulimia, Binge Eating Disorder (BED) and Anorexia Nervosa, eating disorders also include Other Specified Feeding/ Eating Disorder (OFSED) and Avoidant/ Restrictive Food Intake Disorder (ARFID).

This is a subject that I find quite difficult to talk about myself, as I have struggled with my own weight ever since I was a teenager. If I’m totally honest with you, I’ve never really properly addressed why I binge eat myself, what I mean by that – is the psychological underlying cause. It’s one of the constant battles that I have with myself. One month I’m on a strict diet plan, and the next I’m feeling quite deflated because I haven’t been able to stick to it and I bury my self-image feelings deep inside, and ignore them until the next time I decide to do something about it. I know this is my ‘Achilles heel’. I’ve been on so many diets throughout my life I could probably write my own. I find it really particularly frustrating when I am also targeted by social media fads and cons. If only it was so simple as taking a tablet or drinking some concoction.

Eating disorders in particular are highly stigmatised, with people commonly dismissing this serious condition as a fad, or a ploy for attention, or simply normal behaviour.

BEAT is the UK’s eating disorder charity designed to increase awareness support individuals suffering from eating disorders or disordered eating habits.

In a report organised by ‘BEAT’ in 2016 they found that 1 in 3 people with eating disorders had experienced stigma or discrimination in the workplace, and more than 80% said that they didn’t feel their employers were ‘informed’ about eating disorders or how to handle them. They also found that the stigma and discrimination had a considerable impact on 40% of people’s recovery, with many feeling they couldn’t access the support they needed for their eating disorder at work.

BEAT has resources available to guide you through a variety of stages. From visiting the GP to supporting someone else who is struggling, there are practical guides for you to read. These can be found by clicking here.

This year’s EDAW campaign aims to increase the training and knowledge given to professionals, for example GP’s, to help them spot the early signs of an eating disorder. This will ultimately help with increasing early access to treatment, and reduce the risk of possible misdiagnosing.

If you are worried that yourself, or someone you know may have an eating disorder, you can also click here to visit the NHS Eating Disorder page.

If you want to share your stories about eating disorders, or your own particular experience of mental health and what has helped you. Or if you would like to contribute to the blog you can reply directly, or e-mail me on shirley.allmark@achievetogether.co.uk

It would be great to hear from you.

Take care,

Shirl

About me:

I have been a mental health nurse for 28 years. I work in the Health and Wellbeing Team, and my main role is to facilitate mental health and related subjects. I also facilitate epilepsy and emergency rescue medication training. I provide support and consultations to managers and teams supporting individuals with complex needs and mental health difficulties. This blog is written to encourage people to start talking about mental health, in order to raise awareness and reduce stigma.