Parnell: Eating Disorders Week virtually ignored

Kelowna editor says more needs to be done for people struggling with eating disorders

Today marks the end of Eating Disorder Awareness Week and those who are fighting this mental health related issue appear to be doing it on their own.

At least that’s what it seems like for what is a major killer.

If you haven’t heard of anything surrounding this week, you aren’t alone and it begs the question, why is no one talking about eating disorders?

Purple is the nationally recognized symbol of Eating Disorders Awareness Week and many city’s have done things to honour this week and put a spotlight on the issue. In past years, the sails in Kelowna have been lit purple, however this year there appears to be nothing done to create awareness on the issue.

“The major issue here is the ultimate silence surrounding EDs,” wrote Kelowna advocate and writer Emily Simone Lukaszek, who has suffered from an eating disorder. “They are not a lifestyle choice. They are not a phase. They are not something to be taken lightly. They are the deadliest, more vicious and pervasive of mental illnesses and I would publicly like to plea for more education and treatment resources.”

Lukaszek went on to say that treatment facilities for those battling eating disorders are woefully inadequate in the province. She said for the past several decades there have only been seven inpatient beds available at the Provincial Tertiary Eating Disorders Program at St Paul’s Hospital in Vancouver, for the entire province, with no more funding being allocated.

The silence during this week, a week that should come along with education and conversation, is something that Lukaszek wishes were different.

“This silence weighs heavy on my heart when there should be a huge promotion of conversation and education around eating disorders,” she said.

With a lack of services in B.C., many like her resort to out of province travel, to places like the world-renowned program in Guelph, Ontario called Homewood Health Centre, to which she was eventually admitted after being turned down four times.

It shouldn’t be this hard to get help. We’re coming off Bell Let’s Talk, a day that raised a lot of money and awareness on social media. But it’s not enough just to re-Tweet or Facebook a post once a year. That’s not good enough. We need to push our governments and our leaders for more help for those battling eating disorders.

To report a typo, email: edit@kelownacapnews.com.



kparnell@kelownacapnews.com

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