Eating disorders topic of upcoming wellness event

Student wellness ambassadors will host an event called Healing our Relationship with Food and Body on Monday, March 25, from 12:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. at Student Street in Old Main.

This eating disorder awareness event is intended to create a dialogue about the relationship people have with food and their bodies. Two professionals from the Interior Health Eating Disorders Program, Missy Harris and Carla St. Germain, will participate in the event.

Harris and St. Germain will be available for questions and discussion, and to support students’ needs. The Interior Health Eating Disorders Program provides information, referrals and support to people affected by eating disorders.

There will be various tables with discussion topics and activities, such as learning about myths and facts about eating disorders, how to support someone with an eating disorder and general discussions about our relationships with food and our bodies.

Wellness ambassadors attending the event include Lara Romero and Anneka Spice.

 “This is a topic that I care deeply about. Eating disorders have some of the highest mortality rates from any psychiatric disorder,” Romero said. “They can affect anyone, no matter their age, race or background.”

According to Interior Health, young people from ages 14 to 25 are most at risk of developing an eating disorder and the prevalence rate is between two to three per cent of the population.

“There are a lot of stereotypes and myths surrounding eating disorders and I think it’s necessary to have an event that not only raises awareness about them but also allows students to reflect on their relationships with food and body image,” Romero said.

According to Interior Health, students may also adopt unhealthy coping strategies to manage challenging emotions and stress. This may include dieting, overeating, strenuous exercise or different ways of purging.

“I think having conversations can help us move towards healing. It is important to me personally to let people know that their struggles are valid, that there is support out there, and that they matter,” Spice said.

Métis elder Dory Laboucane will join one of the grounding tables and will provide students with guidance on how to bead.

“We appreciate the many people on campus and in the community who are supporting the event,” Spice said.

The event will have resources about where and how to get help, food security and additional snacks will be provided. The Wellness Centre acknowledges that some students will be fasting due to it being Ramadan, so students will be able to take snacks home to enjoy later.

If you or someone you know is living with an eating disorder and needs help, call the Kamloops and Cariboo program at 250-377-6500. In case of crisis and need of immediate help, call the crisis line at 1-888-353-2273.

Interior Health has additional resources for university and college students who might be going through a similar situation. The information can be found on their website.