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ActiveMinds promotes NEDAW

Student group urges “comfy genes” to raise awareness

By Lizzie Glaser
On February 28, 2012

According to Walden Behavioral Care, five to 20 percent

of college females and one to seven percent of college males suffer from some form of eating disorder. This week, Xavier's ActiveMinds Club, along with the Student Activities Council and the Student Health Advisory Council, is hoping to reverse that trend. ActiveMinds is hosting a slew

of events this week in honor of National Eating Disorders

Awareness Week (NEDA Week), including Mirrorless Monday, in which nearly all the mirrors on campus were covered with posters of self-affirming phrases such

as, "you are beautiful"; a lecture by author and psychologist Dr. Ann Kearney-Cooke; a panel on Tuesday and a showing of the movie Real Women Have Curves, a coming-of-age story of a young Mexican American girl starring America Ferrera on Wednesday. ActiveMinds is also offering a

24-hour table in Gallagher StudentCenter with information pamphlets from the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA) about eating disorders and how to help those who

might have them. Students who visit the table will have

an opportunity to sign the "I love my body" poster with

self-affirming phrases or write positive body image messages on scraps of denim in honor of this year's theme,

"Be comfy in your genes!" "Our biggest hope this week is to get people talking," ActiveMinds president Luke Beischel said. "The problem with any mental illness is that there is

such big negative stigma [that] people are afraid to talk about it." ActiveMinds is a national organization founded on the slogan, "changing the conversation about mental health" and hopes to break the stigmas surrounding various mental illnesses. This is the first year they have worked with

NEDA to bring awareness to Xavier about eating disorders.

"We usually do a lot of stress related events because those are what's most relevant to college students, but we wanted to make sure we focus on other issues," Beischel said. "ActiveMinds national office was really promoting

NEDA week this year, and as soon as we heard we jumped on the opportunity to do the same." This year's theme, "Be comfy in your genes!" stresses respecting one's body and harnessing a positive self-image. Beischel hopes that the events ActiveMinds presents will help to generate conversation about body image on Xavier's campus and educate students about the resources available to them.

"We'd think the whole week is a success if even one person asks for help, even if we don't know about it," Beischel said.


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