Hope's Garden teaming with Fanshawe to offer support group for those with eating disorders

Walking around campus, you will probably notice a wide variety of people…different sizes, different shapes, and different styles. However, today's society, specifically the media, is much less accepting of such diversity and there is an underlying expectation that we all fit a specific mould. The media constantly bombards us with messages and images that tell us how we should look in order to be happy and successful. Outer beauty is often favoured over inner beauty, and for some, such pressure leads to feelings of inadequacy and failure. This could help explain why the number of college-aged individuals struggling with food, weight, and body image issues continues to be on the rise. In fact, recent statistics show that up to 10 per cent of individuals aged 15-29 are struggling with a full-blown eating disorder, including anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and binge eating disorder. Despite these frightening statistics, there is a lack of services available for these individuals and many are left feeling isolated and misunderstood.

The community of London is fortunate to have the services offered by Hope's Garden, an eating disorders resource and support centre. Hope's Garden was founded in November 2002 and it is the only centre in London and the surrounding area dedicated entirely to helping individuals struggling with eating disorders, as well as their family and friends. The not-for-profit agency offers support, education, and resources at no cost and those who access services are provided with a sense of understanding and, ultimately, hope. Hope's Garden is located on 379 Dundas Street, Suite 210 and their telephone number is 519-434-7721. Additional information about Hope's Garden is available on their website: www.hopesgarden.org

So why am I telling you all of this? I am pleased to announce that Hope's Garden has agreed to offer a new initiative at Fanshawe called the Disordered Eating Campus Support Group. Any student struggling with food, weight, and body image issues is welcome to attend. This open group will run on Mondays from 4-5:30pm in Room F2010, beginning January 18, 2010 and continuing weekly until April 26. Students are welcome to participate at any session or on an ongoing basis. Weekly topics will vary based on participant's needs and desires. The Disordered Eating Campus Support Group should not be considered as a replacement for specialized treatment, however it is expected that participants will benefit from a sense of understanding, safety, and mutual respect.

If you are interested in learning more about The Disordered Eating Campus Support Group, or if you just have questions about Eating Disorders, please feel free to contact me directly at jhurwitz@fanshawec.ca.