ED’s do not discriminate #ReachOut2Communities

ED’s do not discriminate image and no.1

Historically, eating disorders have been commonly associated with young, white, female adolescents. But the reality is that eating disorders can affect people from all ages, cultures, race, ethnicities and affects both males, and females. Misconceptions about who can have an eating disorder can have significant consequences. It can make it difficult or individuals from other races, ethnicities and cultures to seek help, which can delay and impact treatment outcomes.

There are a number of misconceptions that people might have about eating disorders:

  • ‘A person with an eating disorder must be underweight’ – this is not necessarily true, you do not have to be underweight to be suffering from an eating disorder.
  • ‘Eating disorders only affect young people’ – although eating disorders are more commonly diagnosed in young people, it can affect anyone at any time. Often life stressors, such as, divorce, marriage of a child, death of a loved one or retirement can act as a trigger for developing an eating disorder, or a relapse in later life.
  • ‘Eating disorders only affect women’ – eating disorders can affect any gender. NHS data has shown an increase of 70% of males being admitted into hospitals with an eating disorder.
  • ‘Eating disorders don’t exist in our community’ – eating disorders can affect anyone from any culture, religious group, ethnicity, age, and gender. People of colour and those from the Muslim and Jewish community are less likely to receive help for their eating difficulties.

A recent focus group carried out by SEDS shone light on how some individuals from South Asian backgrounds experienced double stigma about their eating disorder. Feeling as though they do not ‘fit into the stereotype’, as well as feeling rejected from their own community for having an eating disorder significantly impacted on their confidence to seek the right help. So, here at SEDS, we actively reach out to different communities to break this stigma to ensure that people from all communities are able to access the right support for themselves, and their families.