Today – June 2, 2016 – is the first annual World Eating Disorders Action Day.
In honor of this day, my esteemed colleague, Dr. Tarah Martos, and I hosted the first annual South Florida Parent Summit on Eating Disorders. The summit provided a unique opportunity for parents of eating disorder sufferers to unite, empower one another, and learn from each other. We spoke with the parents about envisioning recovery, relapse prevention, and a promising new treatment from Colombia University which involves habit reversal. The lovely parents who attended the summit, despite having sons and daughters of different ages and with different presentations of illness, felt an instant connection with one another, and a freedom in discussing their experiences with other parents who really, truly get it.
I am proud that World Eating Disorders Action Day exists, and I am honored to be a part of it. The public health messages surrounding this day have been devoted to increasing awareness that eating disorders are serious but treatable illnesses, caused by a complex interaction of genes and environment, which affect people of all ages, genders, socioeconomic statuses, and ethnic backgrounds. These are messages I stand behind as a psychologist, as a writer, as an activist, and as a mother of a little girl whom I hope can come of age in a world where the content of these public service announcements is common knowledge.