February is eating disorder screening program month

February is Eating Disorder Screening Program Month. The Washburn University Psychological Services Clinic will be offering free eating disorder screening Feb. 27. 

February is Eating Disorder Screening Program Month, the Washburn University Psychological Services Clinic will be offering free eating disorder screening Feb. 27.

When students enter the clinic a variety of measures are taken and students can meet with one of their therapists. If the student has an eating disorder based on anxiety or depression, the therapists will help or if it is a more serious issue than they can help, students are referred to another organization, such as Stormont-Vail West.

According to the National Institute of Mental Health 25 percent of all college students struggle with an eating disorder and 1 in 5 women struggle with an eating disorder.

The Renfrew Center Foundation for Eating Disorders states that 24 million Americans are affected by eating disorders with 90 percent of those being women between the ages of 12 and 25, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration

Anorexia Speaks says 10 to 15 percent of people with anorexia or bulimia are male and a study conducted by Cornell University found that 40 percent of male football players surveyed engaged in some sort of disordered eating behavior.

Bailea Meeks, director of the Washburn University Psychological Services Clinic, says that for individuals who have friends with eating disorders the number one thing is to be supportive. Eating disorders are more than the need to gain weight. Students can offer to go with the individual to get help and reinforce them once they do.

Meeks says that an eating disorder, unfortunately, affects every aspect of a person’s life because it can cause grades to slip, harm relationships and the individual can become tired and irritable.

Mental illnesses are often taboo and individuals can feel like they are being ostracized. It is important that individuals recognize they are not alone.

Hockett says that one of the things that always strikes her about eating disorders and mental and physical issues is that it also affects those around them. Knowing someone who is dealing with an issue like eating disorders is common. It goes back to the connectivity that no one is alone and everyone means something to another person as well.

Visit http://www.washburn.edu/about/community/psychological-clinic/ or call (785) 670-1750 for more information about eating disorders and how to handle them.