omm attends 2nd annual World Eating Disorder Action Day

Our Minds Matter (OMM) was honored to be invited to the World Eating Disorder Action Day Summit at the United Nations on May 31st, hosted by The National Alliance for Eating Disorders (NAED) & The Mental Health Coalition. Eating Disorders are often incorrectly brushed off as “vanity” or “just a diet” and are not centered in the discussion about teen mental health, even though they are incredibly common and, unfortunately, incredibly dangerous.

Johanna Kandel speaks at the World Eating Disorders Action Day™

Eric Dorsa and Kitty Westin speak at the World Eating Disorders Action Day™

Nayeema Raza, Achea Redd, and Sharon Maxwell speak at the World Eating Disorders Action Day™

A harrowing statistic was shared at this summit by Johanna Kandel, CEO & Founder of the NAED: More than 29 million Americans will experience an eating disorder in their lifetime, and someone dies as a direct result of their eating disorder every 52 minutes. This year’s summit primarily focused on the challenges and obstacles impeding access to care for individuals seeking treatment. Barriers to eating disorder care are significant for many folks, but for people of color, Queer folks, and those living in larger bodies, they can be almost insurmountable. Various panelists shared stories of the discrimination, gaslighting, and harm that they experienced while trying to access treatment and, sometimes, even while in treatment. Every day, folks receive either no care or low-quality care simply because they don’t look like what society incorrectly teaches us is a “typical” person with an eating disorder (thin, white, female) when in reality, eating disorders impact folks of all races, genders, orientations, and body sizes.

Rachel Greenberg attends the World Eating Disorders Action Day™ Summit

Despite these somber realities, Rachel, who attended on behalf of Our Minds Matter, was inspired by the speakers and panelists who shared their stories of resilience, recovery, and advocacy. About her experience, she had this to say: “As someone in recovery myself, eating disorders have touched my life personally and professionally for as long as I can remember, and to be in a room with so many dedicated and like-minded folks working to make a change was truly an honor. I left feeling fired up, hopeful, and ready to be part of building the momentum to change the way society talks about eating disorders and make quality care more accessible to marginalized folks.”

But our work is not done–not even close. A recent study found that 77% of adolescents as young as 12 dislike their bodies, and 45% say they are regularly bullied about how they look. OMM is committed to building on our programming & partnerships that center eating disorder prevention & recovery. There is a light in the dark, and it was shining brightly at the UN last weekend. Let’s keep the flame burning together until, as the NAED says, Not One More life is lost.

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Photos by Jared Siskin/Getty Images for National Alliance for Eating Disorders