Eating Disorders affect people of all genders, sexual orientations, ages, socioeconomic class, abilities, races, and ethnic backgrounds. Eating Disorders are not a choice. That is why, from February 1st to 7th every year, Eating Disorder groups across Canada unite to commemorate Eating Disorder Awareness Week (EDAW) with a national week of action focused on educating the public about Eating Disorders.
Seeking help for any mental illness, including eating disorders, is no easy task, but full recovery from an eating disorder can happen for everyone. It doesn’t matter how old or young you are, or how long the eating disorder has been part of your life. It can be a difficult journey at times, but supports are available.
- Under 18: Check out your local Teen Clinic or health centre or the Child & Adolescent Eating Disorders Service at the Health Science Centre by calling 204.958.9660.
- Over 18: Check out Women’s Health Clinic (open to all genders) by calling 204.947.2422, ext. 137 (in Winnipeg) or toll-free 1.866.947.1517, ext. 137 (outside Winnipeg).
- For all ages: Check out Eating Disorders Manitoba for more resources.
Nationwide, you can access support through the National Eating Disorders Information Centre (NEDIC). They run an online chat and toll-free phone line at 1-866-633-4220. It’s open 8 am-8 pm Monday to Thursday and Friday 8 am to 4 pm (Manitoba-Central time).
Building on the “Eating Disorders Can’t Afford to Wait” theme, this year’s EDAW committee decided to go with: “What happened while we waited?” as the primary message for 2021. We believe that this is a way for us to talk about all of the nuances of this time — the negative and positive implications of the pandemic — while also holding space for those who have been waiting for a long time for the care they deserve.
Like everything else, we know Covid impacts people living with eating disorders. The last year we’ve all experienced more isolation, unneeded shame-based ‘pandemic body’ memes, and disruption to supportive services. Check out the NEDIC COVID-19 + ED: FAQs page to learn more about ways to adapt to the current times.
It is a time to increase awareness of the impact of Eating Disorders, the dangerous stereotypes and myths, and the support available for people living with or affected by them.