Submitted by Bedford Youth and Family Services
To increase awareness and encourage eating disorder treatment, Bedford Youth and Family Services (BYFS) is offering anonymous online eating disorder screenings through the CommunityResponse® National Eating Disorders Screening Program®. The educational initiative will coincide with National Eating Disorders Awareness Week (February 23-March 1). Both an anonymous self-assessment and treatment information are available at https://www.mentalhealthscreening.org/screening/BYFS.
The anonymous and confidential screening is designed to help individuals examine any thoughts or behaviors that may be associated with eating disorders. After completing the self-assessment, users are provided with helpful resources and treatment information through BYFS, if necessary.
Goals of the National Eating Disorder Screening Program include increasing the dialogue about eating disorders, educating the public on the signs and symptoms of eating disorders, and correcting common misconceptions. Despite popular beliefs, someone suffering from an eating disorder can be of any weight and are often adept at hiding their illness.
Some common eating disorder signs and symptoms to watch out for:
- Frequent comments about feeling “fat” or overweight
- In general, behaviors and attitudes indicate that weight loss, dieting and control of food are becoming primary concerns
- Skips meals or takes small portions of food at regular meals
- Hides body with baggy clothes
- Evidence of binge eating, including disappearance of large amounts of food in short periods of time or lots of wrappers and containers indicating consumption or large amounts of food
- Maintains excessive, rigid exercise regimen—despite weather, fatigue, illness or injury—because of the need to “burn off” calories
- Drinks excessive amounts of water and/or uses excessive amounts of mouthwash, mints and gum
“Weight and diet obsession can lead to disordered eating habits,” says BYFS Director Sue Baldauf. “These unhealthy habits can be difficult to recognize, but over time, can develop into an eating disorder. The majority of individuals struggling with eating disorders are not receiving treatment. The screenings available at https://www.mentalhealthscreening.org/screening/BYFS
help direct individuals to the appropriate care they need.”
The CommunityResponse National Eating Disorders Screening Program is sponsored by the national nonprofit Screening for Mental Health® (SMH) and is promoted annually in February as part of National Eating Disorders Awareness Week. SMH is dedicated to promoting the improvement of mental health by providing the public with education, screening and treatment resources. SMH programs — both in-person and online — educate, raise awareness and screen individuals for depression, bipolar disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, posttraumatic stress disorder, eating disorders and alcohol use disorders.
Bedford Youth and Family Services (BYFS) is a municipal department whose mission is to identify and address the social, emotional, and developmental needs of children, youth, adults, and families in Bedford through programs and services that support and nurture. They offer supportive counseling, community education, resource and referral, and youth empowerment and support. For more information contact their offices at Town Center, 12 Mudge Way, Bedford at 781-275-7727 or visit their website at www.bedfordma.gov/youth