March Against Eating Disorders to Take Place on September 30th
Do you know someone with an eating disorder? Even if you think you don't, you might. While the stigma surrounding other mental illnesses such as depression, bipolar disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder has decreased, eating disorders are still very hush-hush in our society.
That's why I was so pleased to see three leading eating disorders organizations team up to establish the very first Mothers and Others (M.O.M.) March on Washington D.C. The purpose of the march is to raise awareness of the prevalence, stigma and shattering consequences of eating disorders and to honor those who have lost someone to an eating disorder. The march will take place on September 30, 2014.
The Alliance for Eating Disorders Awareness, the Eating Disorders Coalition for Research, Policy, and Action (EDC), and Mothers Against Eating Disorders (MAED) created this event with the hope of unifying moms, families, advocates and organizations dedicated to eating disorders and related issues as they collectively march to the nation's Capitol.
It's stunning that eating disorders receive so little attention yet are the deadliest of all mental illnesses. According to the Alliance for Eating Disorders Awareness, nearly 11 million men, women, and children as young as age 5 suffer from anorexia and bulimia, and 20 million more suffer from binge eating disorders. In our culture of overemphasis on youth, beauty, and body image, 10% of eating disorder cases occur in children under the age of 10.
Anorexia nervosa - characterized by self-induced starvation and excessive weight loss - has the highest mortality rate of any mental illness. Without treatment, as many as 20% of people with serious eating disorders such as anorexia die.
The good news is that with treatment, that percentage falls to 2-3%. Unfortunately, access to treatment is sorely inadequate. As a result, individuals with eating disorders continue to suffer and die, even though it doesn't have to be this way.
After the M.O.M. March, participants will gather on October 1, 2014 to engage in a day of advocacy on Capitol Hill, including a Congressional briefing dedicated to mothers of people experiencing eating disorders.
If you or someone you know is affected by an eating disorder, this event may hold special significance for you. The organizers are welcoming participants and volunteers.
What: M.O.M. (Mothers and Others) March Against Eating Disorders
When: Tuesday, September 30, 2014, at Noon
Where: West lawn of Capitol - Washington D.C.