Today: Jun 17, 2024

National eating disorder awareness week is underway

Photo Courtesy | missrepresentation.org On Mar. 5th, counseling services will hold a showing of the documentary “Miss Representation” in Chase Hall.

Josh Falcone – General Assignment Reporter

The issues of eating disorders and body image are a very widespread concern, especially this week which is National Eating Disorder Week. Here at Southern, Counseling Services is attempting to educate the community on these issues.

Counselor Denise Zack said Counseling Services has had events leading up to this week, during the week and also in future weeks to accommodate students’ busy schedules.

“Just to give students the opportunity to come if they can’t, if they’re particularly busy that week,” Zack said.

Counseling Services was set up in the Engleman Hall rotunda this past Monday and Tuesday, from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. Students were offered free coffee and tea as well as information on eating disorders and body image.

“Really just free information about eating disorders, body image, how to get support, how to help a friend and just general resources,” Zack said.

Zack said the group also had an activity at the tables, something they like to regularly do to help engage people and entice them to come. Counseling Services had the “Yay” scale at the event. Zack described the “Yay” scale as a scale that has all the numbers replaced with encouraging words.

“So you stand on it and instead of seeing a number and feeling awkward,” she said. “You’ll see something positive. It works.”

Students were also given gratitude cards at the tables. Students were encouraged to write what they love about themselves, whether it was something physical or not. Counseling Services was advancing positive body image, Zack said.

Counseling Services intern Caitlin Barber said the center also held an event Feb. 19 in conjunction with Residence Life. The event was a “Love Your Body” party.

“We just kind of wanted to do something to celebrate body image,” Barber said. “As opposed to just giving out the information, so we had different stations set up. Students could write down what they loved about their body, what their favorite parts of their body were, and why they loved that part of their body.”

Barber said many people chose funny and interesting choices, such as their heart, their hair or their ears as their favorite part of their body. At the party, Zack and Barber said there was a nutrition table which was focused on health versus weight, mindful eating and the negative effect of body comparison.

“The thing we do all the time in comparing what we look like to somebody else,” Zack said. “And that impacts kind of how we eat and what we eat, and just trying to have people be where their feet are and not just always comparing themselves.”

Barber said they also had the “Yay” scale and gratitude cards at the party, and those in attendance were encouraged to take the positive words they got on the scale and put them on the card and then present a gratitude to themselves. There also was a table focusing on positive celebrity body image role models.

Photo Courtesy | anad.orgSouthern counseling services held an information fair in the Engleman Hall rotunda, informing students on eating disorders and body image.
Photo Courtesy | anad.org
Southern counseling services held an information fair in the Engleman Hall rotunda, informing students on eating disorders and body image.

“The celebrities that are not fitting the standards of beauty out there,” she said.

Barber said there were copies of magazines, and the groups persuaded students to pick out articles that made them feel negative about their bodies. The groups also talked about the advertising industry and what the ads promote, and how people are conditioned to think they need to buy a product to fix something that is wrong with them. Barber said this led to some really great dialogue at the party.

Another thing currently being offered during this awareness period is an online screening for eating disorders in addition to depression, anxiety and substance abuse, Zack said.

The link for the screening can be found on Southern’s Counseling Services website Zack said, and students can find the link on the right side of the page which will take them to the screening.

“What it does is it allows students in the privacy of their own space to take this instrument which gives them an indication whether they have a problem or not,” she said, “and then if it does indicate they have a problem, then they’re referred here [Counseling Services].”

On Mar. 5, Zack said the counseling services center is showing the film “Miss Representation” in Chase Hall at 8 p.m.

Zack described “Miss Representation” as a documentary film that deals with how media and culture portray women, make them feel, how it impacts their body image, and causes a propensity towards eating disorders.

Zack said Counseling Services is also working with the philanthropic sorority Delta Phi Epsilon, who have an annual candlelit vigil in honor of people who suffer from eating disorders. Zack said she will be the guest speaker at the vigil and will be showing clips of “Miss Representation” and focusing on self acceptance and healthy versus unhealthy dieting.

Photo Courtesy | missrepresentation.orgOn Mar. 5th, counseling services will hold a showing of the documentary “Miss Representation” in Chase Hall.
Photo Courtesy | missrepresentation.org
On Mar. 5th, counseling services will hold a showing of the documentary “Miss Representation” in Chase Hall.

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