Hope’s Garden caps off Eating Disorder Awareness Week

London, ON, Canada / 106.9 The X

Londoners came together at Kinsmen Arena to share their experiences dealing with eating disorders.

Hope’s Garden held an event called Eating Disorders 101, which consisted of workshops, videos and presentations from various organizations and medical officials to examine the various layers of the issue.

Suzy Veenboer, a participant who has spent 25 years dealing with anorexia says it is important to have access to these programs.

Natasha Newby, Executive Director of Hope’s Garden says that it is one of the most misunderstood issues and has one of the highest mortality rates.

“It was a lot of peer things, family and media,” Veenboer said. “When you hear other people talk about it, you think ‘I’m not crazy, I am just sick.'”

According to Veenboer, it is important to hear the experiences have had with eating disorders.

“It really gives them the true experience of what one is really struggling with when it comes to an eating disorder,” Newby said. “It takes away the focus from the eating and the disorder and it addresses it as a mental health issue.”

Recovery warriors share their struggles and successes dealing with their eating disorders.

Recovery warriors share their struggles and successes dealing with their eating disorders.

A panel of recovery warriors shared their stories dealing with various eating disorders.

Attendees asked questions about how they were able to overcome and ways that they can help peers and loved ones.

“It’s not that stereotypical ‘only one population affected by these illnesses’ [issue],” Marbella Carlos, Outreach Coordinator for the National Eating Disorders Information Centre said. “I think we should care as it could be your mother, your brother, your niece as anyone can be affected by this mental illness.”

Near the end of the event, London-Fanshawe NDP MPP Teresa Armstrong announced that she is building  a petition to help raise awareness about eating disorders at Queen’s Park.

Newby says that it is not an issue for one week, but a fight all year long.

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