REDMOND, Ore. - National Eating Disorder Awareness Week is approaching soon, Feb. 21-27, and one Redmond woman has made it her mission to help curb this devastating disease.
Jacquelyn Ekern, who once suffered from an eating disorder herself, created Eating Disorder Hope, an organization to help those battling the disease.. She says eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of any mental disorder, and an increasing number of young children are now afflicted.
"We know about 30 million people have eating disorders in America at some point of their life," Ekern said Friday.
After recovering, Ekern said she decided that she wanted to devote her life to helping others who are suffering. She started the organization Eating Disorder Hope.
To mark National Eating Disorder Awareness Week, the organization is facilitating a series of digital events.
"People who are susceptible to eating disorders are seeking connection, so at Eating Disorder Hope we are trying to use social media to promote self esteem and positive body image," Ekern said.
She explained how there is too much body shaming and skinny worship online. Hashtags promoting anorexia and bulimia, such as thinspo, thigh gap and pro-ana are found across the web.
"By creating an interactive community, some of these same individuals that may go to the thinspo sites may come to our site and find a sense of belonging," Ekern said.
Her site encourages men and women to find a sense of worth within themselves. She hopes she can make a difference, by connecting those suffering with the resources they need.
To visit her site and for more information on eating disorders and upcoming digital events, go to: http://www.eatingdisorderhope.com/
You can also visit the National Eating Disorders Association at http://nedawareness.org/