An estimated one-million Canadians are living with eating disorders such as anorexia and bulimia, and that’s why every year from February 1-7, we mark Eating Disorders Awareness Week (EDAW), to raise awareness about the causes and impacts of eating disorders.
According to the National Initiative for Eating Disorders (NIED), the awareness week was born in 1986. It was founded by some Canadians, Americans and people in the U.K. at a time when there was little to no research on the subject. It was also very difficult for people living with eating disorders to seek treatment and proper care.
It would take several years or even decades, in the case of some provinces, to get EDAW officially recognized by governments across the country. In fact, Ontario didn’t pass official legislation until just a few months ago!
The COVID-19 pandemic has only inflamed the prevalence of eating disorders in our society. The National Eating Disorders Association reported that calls to its hotline were up 70-80% just a few months into nationwide lockdown measures.
Experts say that when our mental health suffers, so do our tendencies to over-eat, abstain from eating and generally body-shame ourselves. Suddenly, people don’t have regular access to their friends, family and official support groups.
That’s why GiveAMask.ca recently announced its partnership with the Eating Disorders Support Network of Alberta (EDSNA). The EDSNA is a non-profit organization and charity dedicated to providing support to those with eating disorders and their friends and family.
If you or someone you know needs help and support for their eating disorder through these unprecedented times here are some resources that can help: