The National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA) has partnered with Screening for Mental Health, Inc. (SMH) to launch www.MyBodyScreening.org, a website where people can take a free, anonymous self-assessment to gauge their risk of an eating disorder.
The anonymous SMH online screening takes only a few minutes and consists of a series of questions developed by treatment professionals in the eating disorders field, which are designed to indicate whether clinical help is needed. The availability of such a “low pressure” first-step towards recovery is a vital tool. After completing a screening, participants (if indicated) receive referral information for local agencies for personal evaluation by a medical professional and treatment. There are two screenings available, one for college students – a particularly vulnerable demographic for the development of eating disorders – and a standard screening for other demographics.
Commented Susie Roman, director of programs for NEDA, “During National Eating Disorders Awareness Week, we see a sharp rise in the number of people asking for treatment referrals online, on our helpline and at live events sponsored at schools and other community outlets. This is an outstanding resource for people who may need help or know someone who may need help and don’t know where to begin. We are excited to partner with Screening for Mental Health to offer this unique, online resource.”
“There is very little said about eating disorders in the mainstream media relative to their prevalence and mortality rates,” said Douglas G. Jacobs, M.D., associate clinical professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and the founder of SMH. “I don’t think that the general public realizes that these disorders are actually mental illnesses, but they are highly treatable. Taking a screening can help identify a likely eating disorder and, in many cases, this translates to saved lives.”
The launch comes as NEDA gears up for its 26th National Eating Disorders Awareness Week (NEDAwareness Week), Feb. 24 – March 2, an annual campaign held in communities across the country to bring public attention to the critical needs of people with eating disorders and their families.
In the U.S., 20 million women and 10 million men suffer from a clinically significant eating disorder at some time in their life, including anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, binge eating disorder, or an eating disorder not otherwise specified. Eating disorders are bio-psycho-social illnesses with potentially life-threatening consequences and anorexia nervosa has the highest death rate of any mental illness … But there is help and there is hope.
National Eating Disorders Awareness Week
NEDAwareness Week, is an annual campaign to bring public attention to the critical needs of people with eating disorders and their families. This year’s efforts, themed Everybody Knows Somebody are already generating interest nationwide, with volunteers coordinating events throughout the country using their local media muscle to spread the word about eating disorders. During this week, hundreds of events will be held in communities coast to coast, offering an opportunity for people to gather information and learn how to support those with eating disorders. Opportunities are still available to “Do just one thing” to support this national movement, such as distributing materials, joining the social media campaign or organizing a screening event.
During NEDAwarenss Week, in-person screenings will also be available at over 500 colleges and 100 community sites across the country. It is estimated that 35% of “normal dieters” progress to pathological dieting. Of those, 20-25% progress to partial or full-syndrome eating disorders.
Among the events planned: Seminars and workshops, film festivals, health fairs and screenings, NEDA Walks, candlelight vigils, fundraisers, artistic performances and Great Jeans Giveaways (encouraging people to get rid of jeans that don’t fit, buy jeans that fit the real person and to “be comfortable in your genes”).
For information on what’s happening in your community during NEDAwareness Week or how you can get involved: www.NEDAwareness.org