An estimated 10,000 Penn State students suffer from eating disorders, the most deadly form of mental illness.
In the last two decades, the curtain has been lifted on these formerly taboo conditions, paving the way for much-needed national discussion and research on the topic. Penn State has been a huge part of this discussion, historically hosting a conference called “Eating Disorders on Campus: An Institutional Response.” The problem is widespread among college students; some estimates predict that as much as 25% of American college students suffer from some form of an eating disorder.
This year, National Eating Disorder Awareness Week is February 24-March 2. Penn State will continue to support those suffering by providing events on campus to distribute information about eating disorders. Penn State organization Active Minds will have a booth set up in the HUB from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m. every day for the last week of February. They will be distributing brochures and handouts with information about eating disorders, including the warning signs and how to reach out to someone you think needs help. Active Minds will also show a movie walled “Killing Us Softly” at a time to be determined in the HUB. Healthworks will show a movie entitled “Beauty Mark” in the HUB.
If you or a friend is suffering, there are places to get help. CAPS offers individual and group therapy options specifically for individuals with eating disorders. UHS provides outpatient physician and nutritionist care to help you create a meal plan and stay healthy.
If you need immediate attention, you can call the National Eating Disorder Hotline at 1-800-248-3285. First and foremost, if you know someone who is dealing with an eating disorder or you yourself are struggling, ask for help. Tell an adviser, friend, or family member that you are comfortable with, because reaching out and acknowledging the problem is the first step. Most importantly, remember that an eating disorder is not your fault, you are not alone, and there is hope and help for recovery!