Eating Disorder Awareness Week 2023

by | 27 Feb 2023 | Eating Disorders | 0 comments

It is hard to believe another year has gone by and that today commences Eating Disorder Awareness Week 2023. To be honest the longer I work in Eating Disorders (we’re on 15 years now) the less I am focused on EDAW as ‘the’ awareness period of the year, because quite frankly in my office every day is Eating Disorder Awareness day!

The 2022 – 2023 has been an especially busy year for me with lots of clients, the developed of The Eating Disorder Recovery Companion, co-founding a research group and contributing to other research. Actually, when I reflect on it like this it has been quite the departure from my usual focus on eating disorder training (more is coming but there is only so much of me to go around).

Anyway  – the topic that is being highlighted for EDAW this year in Eating Disorders in men. I sincerely hope that those of you reading are well aware that Eating Disorders do effect men as well as women. In fact 1 in 4 cases of Eating Disorders are men.

Over the course of the week I will be sure to share and highlight posts about, for and by men on my social media accounts (links top right of the page).

Now, I’m never one to shy away from difficult conversation, so let’s talk about this years Beat campaign. In case you are unaware Beat is the largest UK Eating Disorder charity and I have volunteered with and supported them over the last 15 years. For this EDAW they have launched a short video on men with Eating Disorders which has been met by some disagreement.

The disagreement is about the tone of the video – it has attempted to showcase some lived experiences of men with a bit of humour. I think there was an attempt to be ‘hip’ and ‘catchy’ but for many it missed the mark and is somewhat offensive. Eating Disorders really are no laughing matter and direct, educational or hard hitting content seems far more appropriate for this topic. I have therefore decided that I wont be sharing the clip here, or on my socials, but if you want to find it you’ll of course find it on all of their online platforms.

As someone who does support Beat I do want to attempt to offer some understanding though. Although I don’t agree with the tone of the piece it was created with the assistance of men with lived experiences of Eating Disorders. I’m not sure but I suspect it was a small group and that one or more of the group thought the humour approach would be effective. (I’m personally usually up for a little tongue in cheek humour). I can see how wanting to support the voices of those involved it all got a little… derailed.

Is it good enough? No, not really. Would it be better to learn from this and continue to support Eating Disorder awareness? Yes.

We all make mistakes, drop a joke that bombs, misunderstand the impact of our words, are blinded by our own perspective and similar. So, by all means if you don’t like the piece do let them know – but be kind people!!

I hope to be back to blogging more regularly soon – but in the meantime do also follow my socials. As always feel free to suggest topic for blogs and also videos over on my YouTube channel.


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Kel O'Neill

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