By Ceillie Keane
This week, Union’s Active Minds club has been sponsoring a series of events to participate in the National Eating Disorders Awareness Week.
Shalini Singaravelu ‘12, president of Union’s branch of the national Active Minds organization, explains that the main initiative for the week is not simply to raise awareness with these visual displays, but more to “break down stigmas by starting discussions.” Singravelu says that with “people talking about it,” there is “less of a stigma” surrounding a “taboo” topic.
Active Minds will be hosting a “True Life” Panel Discussion tonight at 5:30 p.m. in the Reamer Auditorium in order to facilitate this open discussion. Amanda Tommell, who works in the Counseling Center and advises the Active Minds group, the Resident Director of West Pat Duffy and two students will sit on the panel to share personal stories, answer questions, and give advice on how to approach the subject of eating disorders.
Perhaps more important than the specific points of discussion, Singravelu notes, is that the open talk regarding “the sensitive issues” will make students “aware of the power they have to cause change on their peers” and provide them with “resources so we can all be healthy.”[pullquote]“I’m hoping that after the open discussionpeople will realize that eating disorders are more than just labels on paper; for some people, even for people on campus, eating disorders are aconstant and consuming struggle.”
Maggie WeinrebClass of 2013[/pullquote]
Singaravelu urges everyone to get involved, “Even if you’re not comfortable talking, at least go.” Specifically, she hopes that Union’s men will attend these events. Active Minds has faced a challenge with “getting guys to be involved.” Whether the “Union culture” recognizes it or not, Singaravelu explains, “They’re part of the discussion, too. Mental illness doesn’t just affect one demographic or one gender.”
Active Minds has recognized mental illness’s lack of discrimination with their promotional posters for this week. These posters around campus claim that “Everyone knows somebody” who suffers from some type of eating disorder. With the events for National Eating Disorder Awareness Week, Singaravelu and the other members of Active Minds hope to begin to break down barriers and open up discussion surrounding eating disorders.