Raising Awareness of Eating Disorders
This week (25th Feb to 3rd March) is Eating Disorders Awareness Week in the UK. The campaign aims to ‘break the barriers’ and to ‘put the real stories of eating disorders in the spotlight, raise funds, and change lives’.
This Eating Disorders Awareness Week helps to put the stories of how people are affected in the spotlight, standing together to demand that anyone affected by an eating disorder is supported, no matter what their diagnosis, gender, ethnicity, sexuality, age or background.
The impact of eating disorders in the UK
Anorexia and Bulimia Care states that over 1.6 million people in the UK are estimated to be directly affected by eating disorders. And that this is likely to be an underestimate there is a huge level of unmet need in the community. Good quality comprehensive services for people with eating disorders are not yet available in many parts of England.
Anorexia most commonly affects girls and women, although it has become more common in boys and men in recent years. On average, the condition first develops at around the age of 16 to 17. The condition can occur at any age, but mainly affects women aged between 16 and 40 and, on average, it starts around the age of 18 or 19. Reports estimate that up to 25% of Britons struggling with eating disorders may be male. The age at which most boys were admitted to hospital for an eating disorder was 13 years in the 12 months to October 2013.
How art and the creative process can help
Art therapy, with counselling and therapy, and the creative process can help to explore feelings, reconcile emotional conflicts, foster self-awareness, manage behaviour and addictions, develop social skills, reduce anxiety and increase self-esteem. When used in conjunction with other therapeutic exposures in recovery, it can help make the shift from explaining feelings to actually feeling them, moving beyond verbal expression into a safe place to explore ways to manage feelings and possible triggers.
Ludus Dance’s State of Flux
Ludus Dance ran a project to help make a difference for children and young people affected by severe mental health issues in the Lancaster area, funded by BBC Children in Need. Seventeen year-old Lexi was one of the young people with an eating disorder who took part in State of FLUX, and for whom the project brought positive change.
Through State of FLUX, professional dance, music and film artists worked with Lancashire Care Foundation NHS Trust’s in-patient assessment and treatment unit for 13 to 18 year-olds, over 12 weeks.
- A safe creative outlet was provided for young people experiencing severe and distressing thoughts, feelings and emotions.
- They experienced how the arts can help to explore identity and individuality and also learned the basics of filmmaking, music and dance.
“Socialising became a new focus,” said Lexi. “I got to know the other people in the unit better. It gave us something different to talk about, other than about hospital and why we were there.”
Read more about Lexi’s journey.
Support our work with more children and young people
Ludus Dance works with children and young people to inspire, engage and empower them through dance. If you would like to donate to support our charitable mission, or volunteer with us or hold an event to help us raise funds , please email firstname.lastname@example.org.