Body Image & Eating Disorder Awareness Week | Eating Disorders Victoria
Home ~ Get involved ~ BIEDAW

BIEDAW

Home ~ Get involved ~ BIEDAW

This page contains information about Body Image and Eating Disorders Awareness Week (BIEDAW). BIEDAW is a national awareness week in Australia and is celebrated during the first week of September each year.

Body Image and Eating Disorders Awareness Week (BIEDAW) will take place from September 5th – 11th, 2022. This BIEDAW, we’re joining forces with our colleagues around Australia to raise awareness and encourage early action around eating disorders. 

What is Body Image and Eating Disorders Awareness Week (BIEDAW)?

BIEDAW is a national week of significance that shines a light on eating disorders. Eating disorders are serious and debilitating mental illnesses that affect approximately 1 in 20 Australians. Just like any mental illness, eating disorders are not the fault of the individual. There is no single identifiable cause of eating disorders – they are believed to be the result of genetic, psychological, environmental and social risk factors.

While eating disorders are more likely to start in adolescence, they can affect anyone at any stage of life.

Eating disorders cause significant mental and physical distress, and require treatment with a range of health professionals. With support, full recovery from an eating disorder is possible for anyone, no matter their age or length of illness.  

Learn more about eating disorders

It’s never safe to watch and wait when it comes to eating disorders. Find out more about eating disorders on our Eating Disorders Explained page.

Eating Disorders Explained

What is early intervention?

According to the NEDC, 

“Early intervention refers to the identification of eating disorder symptoms and implementation of support and treatment for a person as soon as symptoms are recognised. This also relates to the early identification and response to re-emerging symptoms for someone who has recovered from an eating disorder. Its aim is to minimise the severity and duration of the disorder and to reduce its broader impacts.”

Why is early intervention so important?

We know that early intervention is one of the best ways to help reduce the severity and duration of eating disorders. Research tells us that those who receive early intervention through support and treatment are more likely to go on to achieve full recovery from their eating disorder. Not only does this benefit the individual and their loved ones, but also our broader health system. Eating disorders have a high morbidity rate that is estimated to cost more (in terms of disability adjusted years) than that of depression and anxiety combined (1). Eating disorders also have the highest mortality rate of any mental illness.

Why do so many people struggle to receive an early response to their eating disorder?

Awareness and understanding of eating disorders in the community in poor. Research from the Butterfly Foundation (2) shows: 

  • Only one in 10 Australians can recognise the signs and symptoms of eating disorders 
  • One in five think you can tell someone has an eating disorder just by looking at them 
  • One in three people think eating disorders only impact teenagers 
  • One in four believe people with symptoms of eating disorders would only need to seek professional help if they became dangerously underweight 

Additionally, prevailing myths about eating disorders reduce their seriousness as a mental health condition.  

  • One in four perceive disordered eating as a sign of weakness  
  • One in five people believe that people who binge eat ‘just lack willpower’  
  • One in four people believe eating disorders are choice and that people could stop if they really wanted to  
  • One in seven people believe that people with eating disorders ‘just want attention’ 

Finding support at the earliest possible time for you

It’s important to remember that recovery from an eating disorder is possible for everyone, no matter the length of their illness. 

Early intervention for eating disorders is sadly not the norm, which means that the majority of people who experience and recover from an eating disorder have been experiencing symptoms for some time, sometimes even decades.  

At EDV, we work to ensure all Victorians have an avenue to find support at the earliest possible time for them. This includes carers and loved ones, who need their own support throughout the recovery journey. Sometimes it may take multiple tries to find something that works, and that’s ok. The important part is to keep trying. 

Are you ready to reach out for help?

It can be hard to feel ‘ready’ to recover, but reaching out to someone who understands is a great first step. EDV’s Telehealth Counsellors are here to help. Book a free, 30-minute session with an EDV Counsellor today.

Telehealth Counselling at EDV

How to support BIEDAW 2022

You can help spread the word about the importance of early intervention this BIEDAW.  

  • Download and share our Conversation Starters flyer 
  • Follow EDV on Instagram for lived experience stories, collaborations and resources during the week
  • Talk to your friends and family about the lesser-known signs of eating disorders, and bust some of the common myths! 
  • Reach out for support if you need. It’s never too early or too late when it comes to getting help for an eating disorder. You can find out how EDV can help you here.  

References

  1. Paxton, S. J., Hay, P., Touyz, S. W., Forbes, D., Madden, S., Girosi, F., … Morgan, C. (2012). Paying the Price: The Economic and Social Impact of Eating Disorders in Australia. Retrieved from https://www.deloitteaccesseconomics.com.au/uploads/File/Butterfly_Report_Paying%20the%20Price_online.pdf
  2. The Butterfly Foundation, Community Research Findings 2021, https://butterfly.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2021/11/Butterfly-Foundation_Community-Insights-Report_January-2021_FINAL.pdf
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