Contact: Katherine Cruise
Screening for Mental Health®
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
National Eating Disorders Awareness Week is February 20-26, 2011
Anonymous Screenings Available at www.CollegeResponse.org
Wellesley Hills, MA (February 21, 2011) – Screening for Mental Health® (SMH) is pleased to announce the top three winners of the first annual National Eating Disorders Screening Program® (NEDSP) public service announcement contest. SMH started the video contest to give college students a chance to educate their peers about the consequences of anorexia, bulimia and binge eating disorder and to encourage students to assess their risk by taking an online screening at www.CollegeResponse.org.
Students across the country will see the winning public service announcements as part of NEDSP, which is an education and screening program hosted by hundreds of colleges and universities nationwide. Schools participate in NEDSP by hosting in-person events and/or providing anonymous screenings online.
“Food concerns, body dissatisfaction and low self-esteem can keep a person from being successful at school or work, and hinders social activities like being with friends, family and functioning as a person. The National Eating Disorders Screening Program offers education and screening to help young men and women recognize unhealthy eating habits before they evolve into full-blown eating disorders,” says Douglas G. Jacobs, MD, associate professor of psychiatry at Harvard University Medical School and founder and president of SMH.
In the United States, as many as 10 million females and 1 million males are fighting a life and death battle with an eating disorder. Data reveals that nearly 20% of college students admit to having an eating disorder and nearly three-quarters have never received treatment (National Eating Disorders Association).
Eating disorders frequently co-exist with depression, anxiety disorders and substance abuse. A comprehensive new study from The National Center on Addictions and Substance Abuse reveals that nearly half of those suffering from an eating disorder also abuse alcohol or illicit drugs, compared to just nine percent of the general population. People suffering from eating disorders may use drugs or alcohol for the same reasons they engage in eating disorder behaviors, to control their weight or to self-medicate negative emotions.
“I seriously struggled with an eating disorder in high school,” says Sarah Garrett, a student at Auburn University in Alabama and producer of the winning PSA video. “It took literally hitting rock bottom to get me to a therapist, and I swore then I would one day make a difference for someone else through eating disorder awareness.”
The second place winning PSA comes from Danielle Rollins and Pamela Heim, nursing students at Aultman College of Nursing in Canton, Ohio. The video was selected because of its powerful message and supporting statistics. “I struggled with an eating disorder in my late teens and early twenties, to the point that I required hospitalization,” says Danielle Rollins. “With the help of a nutritionist and the motivation of wanting to become a mother to healthy children, I was able to change my behaviors.”
Lauren Webb, an 18 year old studio art major at Virginia Tech, whose PSA took third place says, “I understand how difficult an eating disorder can be… I used to get sick a lot and over my teenage years my problem developed into bulimia. I also struggled with anxiety, and soon realized there was a connection with all of my symptoms. I was able to express my major battle with food to my parents through my drawings and artwork. With their help, I got into therapy and am now on my way to recovery.”
The winning PSAs can be viewed at http://www.youtube.com/CollegeResponsePSA.
About CollegeResponse: CollegeResponse®, a program of the nonprofit Screening for Mental Health, Inc., promotes the prevention, early detection and treatment of prevalent and often under-diagnosed mental health disorders. CollegeResponse programs are provided in-person and online and include the National Eating Disorders Screening Program, National Depression Screening Day®, National Alcohol Screening Day® and The DORA College Suicide Prevention Program. Learn more at www.MentalHealthScreening.org.