A Health & Wellness peer education group called Eating Concerns Mentors raised awareness about eating concerns across campus during National Eating Disorders Awareness Week, which took place from Feb. 24 to March 1.
UNH corresponded National Eating Disorders Awareness Week, presented by the National Eating Disorder Association (NEDA), with Eating Concerns Awareness Week. This week was designated to raise awareness for those who are struggling with an eating disorder.
The first event, held on Tuesday in the Memorial Union Building (MUB) was called Positive Social Media. The event was designed to start a discussion about the effects that social media has on people regarding body image and to learn some ways to use social media to help improve how you view yourself versus bring yourself down.
On Wednesday, students had the opportunity to take a mid-day meditation class to learn to appreciate your body and slow down. This event was held in the Hamel Recreation Center (HRC).
Lastly, on Thursday there was an event called Intuitive Eating held in the MUB where students could learn about the 10 principles of intuitive eating and how to incorporate them in their day to day life.
Laila Hammam, the dietitian at UNH Health & Wellness, explained that there are many people that students can reach out to if they are experiencing eating concerns. This includes their resident assistant (RA), a staff member at the HRC, Psychological and Counseling Services (PACS), Hammam or a clinician at Health & Wellness. Student athletes can reach out to a sports dietitian or an athletic trainer as well.
After reaching out to any of these people, students will be connected to a Health & Wellness physician, dietitian and PACS. Hammam emphasized the importance of students being connected to all three.
“Ideally we like students to have a three-team approach to their care.”
In addition to the professional help that students have access to on campus, they also can apply for an Eating Concerns Mentor (ECMs). ECMs are trained UNH peer educators. Not only do they plan and implement events around campus such as the events held during Eating Concerns Awareness Week, they offer one-on-one mentoring for students struggling with body image and eating concerns.
“ECMs are not a replacement for professional help, but can provide support in addition to professional care,” Hammam explained.
Since some students do not feel comfortable talking about eating concerns with their friends, it still could be beneficial to talk anonymously to someone their age that understands what they are going through. Students can request an ECM once they fill out a short questionnaire and will then be contacted within 48-72 hours.
Students who are interested in getting involved and helping other students with eating concerns can apply to become an ECM via the Health & Wellness webpage. Applications are due by April 15.