Help available for people with eating disorders

Eating Disorders Awareness Weeek, Feb. 1 to 7

Eating Disorders Awareness Week in Central Alberta will begin with a panel discussion on Thursday at Notre Dame High School.

The panel runs from 7 to 9 p.m. and will look at warning signs, dangers of dieting, developing a recovery plan, information for loved ones and more.

Red Deer facilitator Sara Kreklewich, with Eating Disorder Support Network of Alberta, said the community conversation about eating disorders has to continue.

“We need to be talking about this so that we can continue to reduce stigma,” Kreklewich said on Tuesday.

On Monday, an evening of body positivity meditative colouring will be held at Red Deer College, room 2505 from 6:30 to 8 p.m. All materials will be supplied and there will be door prizes.

Information displays will also be set up at the Forum at Red Deer College, at Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre, and at the Dawe Branch of Red Deer Public Library, during awareness week, from Feb. 1 to 7. Meditative colouring will be held throughout the week at Burman University in Lacombe.

Eating Disorder Support Network of Alberta no longer runs in-person support groups in Red Deer, but people can access its online support groups.

Sue Huff, EDSNA executive director, said online support through video conferencing began last year and has become a popular way to share and connect with others.

“One of the hardest part of having an eating disorder, or indeed any mental illness, is the isolation. It’s really critical that people feel that they aren’t in it alone. That somebody else understands,” Huff said.

She said online can be an easier way to take the step to join a support group. They don’t even have to turn on their video camera.

“It is a hard thing to do for people who are affected to open up, to share, to talk about this thing that has by and large been very, very, very, private. I think this is a nice way to try it out and see what it might be like to be open about the challenges they’re facing and learn from other people who have similar experiences.”

EDSNA runs nine-week online support groups for people with eating disorders. A seven-week online support group is available to family.

To register visit www.edsna.ca/online-support-groups.html.

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