Eating disorders are serious, life-threatening illnesses – not choices – and it’s important to recognize the pressures, attitudes and behaviors that shape the disorder. This year’s National Eating Disorders Awareness Week theme is “Everybody Knows Somebody” because awareness of eating disorders is certainly spreading.
The National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA) and the Counseling Center at Pace University believe in the importance of community to bring people together to share stories, ideas, information and hope. The following programs and events are designed to educate, energize and inspire all people affected by eating disorders … and were recommended in The New York Times’ Spare Times column.
National Eating Disorders Association Events (Monday, Feb. 27 through Wednesday, Feb. 29) The Association is commemorating its 25th year of raising awareness about eating disorders with several free events planned at Pace University, 1 Pace Plaza, Lower Manhattan. On Monday at 6:30 p.m., a screening of “America the Beautiful,” a 2007 documentary by Darryl Roberts about Americans’ obsession with beauty, will be shown at the Student Union. On Tuesday at 7 p.m., the 2011 documentary “Someday Melissa” by Jeffrey Cobelli, will be shown in the Michael Schimmel Center for the Arts, 3 Spruce Street; reservations are recommended at (212) 575-6200. And on Wednesday at 7:30 p.m., “Phat Girls,” a play about weight and body image by Debbie Lamedman, will be performed in the Multipurpose Room. Discussions will follow each presentation. And to celebrate the work of the organization, the Empire State Building with glow with the group’s colors, green and blue, on Tuesday, beginning with an 11 a.m. ceremony. myneda.org.
San Diego recently experienced back to back murder suicides involving Hispanic families. Looking for insight, San Diego Red, the bilingual partner of the San Diego Union-Tribune, reached out to Pace’s Dr. Richard Shadick, asking him to shed light on these tragedies, put them into context of economic times and address cultural factors.
What are the warning signs of potential murder suicide; how rare is it and what resources are typically available?
Dr. Richard Shadick, director of the Counseling Center at Pace University in New York, said people who want to kill themselves usually give warning signs.
“Most notably, if someone has a history of violence they report feelings of depression, anger management difficulties, a sense of hopelessness and helplessness,” Shadick said. “There is social withdrawal from the family, community and friends. Substances can be involved.”
“Typically there are some difficulties that have occurred prior to a murder-suicide, financial difficulties, perhaps domestic violence,” he said.
The SanDiegoRed, the bilingual partner of the San Diego Union-Tribune, reported that according to health experts, Latinos suffer from mental illness about the same rate as the rest of the population but are less likely to seek help. In San Diego County, Latinos make up one-third of the region’s population but are just 20 percent of the adults who seek help at county mental health facilities.
“There is some shame associated with it,” Shadick said, echoing a well-known cultural barrier. There is an expectation among Latinos, he said, that “men should be able to handle their problems on their own, that they should be able to make money for the family and handle marital or relationship difficulties without relying on others.”