One of my main goals upon joining the Eating Disorder Coalition of Iowa board was to provide resources to educators within our schools, focusing on eating disorder prevention and recognition.
When my daughter was diagnosed with anorexia, we had a meeting with the school to discuss her illness and how they could help. I will always remember one of the school officials in the room saying how she just thought our daughter was super healthy, eating snap peas and carrots for lunch every day. I know this was an innocent statement, but looking back now I always think if our school district just had some professional development training on eating disorders, perhaps they would have recognized this as a symptom of an ED.
Most kids today suffer from body dissatisfaction due to social media. Research links body dissatisfaction to serious mental health issues kids are facing: eating disorders, depression, substance abuse, suicidal thoughts, and low self-esteem. Eating disorders have one of the highest mortality rates of any mental illness. COVID-19 has only worsened these issues for students who have spent more time alone and on social media.
EDCI is excited to announce our partnership with another non-profit, BeReal, and begin to offer body conscious training across the state to schools. BeReal, with the help of the Illinois State Board of Education, has created a worksh
op for teachers’ professional development called Body Confident Schools.
The workshop will:
Discuss body image & adolescents in today's world
Provide 5 steps to create a body confident school environment
Teach teachers about a free, evidence-informed, Health Education Curriculum Analysis Tool -compliant body image curriculum
In 2019 and 2020, this was presented to over 400 health teachers, social workers, and school administrators in Illinois. They have also presented to schools in Colorado and New York.
We have begun the process of contacting individual districts, Iowa school counselor association, Drake University continuing education/professional development and other agencies involved in state education with this opportunity. If anyone has any contacts that we can utilize please let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In the future we would also like to offer similar training to school nurses on eating disorders and early recognition.