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National Eating Disorder Awareness Week: February 25-March 3

The 2019 awareness week theme, Come as You Are, highlights the National Eating Disorders Association’s movement towards inclusivity in the greater eating disorder community and the goal of unifying the field of eating disorders. In particular, Come as You Are sends a message to individuals at all stages of body acceptance and eating disorders recovery that their stories are valid. The National Eating Disorders Association invites everyone, especially those whose stories have not been widely recognized, to have the opportunity to speak out, share their experiences, and connect with others.

The aim is to start conversations with a variety of communities that struggle at comparable rates to those traditionally thought of as struggling with eating disorders. Everybody has the opportunity to share their stories, see themselves in others’ stories, and recognize that their experiences are valid and welcome, no matter where they are in relationship to food or their bodies.

This NEDAwareness Week, come as you are, not as you think you should be.

What is an eating disorder?

Eating disorders are real, complex, bio-psycho-social diseases that can have serious consequences for health, productivity and relationships. They are not fads, phases, or lifestyle choices. The most common eating disorders are anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and binge eating disorder. Other eating disorders include: avoidant/restrictive food intake disorder, rumination disorder, pica, other specified feeding or eating disorder, and unspecified feeding or eating disorder. These disorders can be life-threatening if not recognized and treated appropriately. The earlier a person receives treatment, the greater the likelihood of full recovery.

Who is at risk?

Anyone can develop an eating disorder regardless of gender, age, race, ethnicity, culture, size, socioeconomic status, or sexual orientation. Eating disorders also impact the family, friends, and loved ones of someone struggling. While no one knows for sure what causes eating disorders, a growing consensus suggests that it is a range of biological, psychological, and sociocultural factors.

National surveys estimate 20 million women and 10 million men in America will have an eating disorder at some point in their lives.

Signs of an eating disorder

  • Preoccupation with weight, food, calories, dieting, and/or body image
  • Development of abnormal, secretive, extreme, or ritualized food or eating habits
  • Withdrawal from usual friends and activities
  • Evidence of binge eating, such as the disappearance of a large amount of food
  • Evidence of purging behaviors, including frequent trips to the bathroom after meals, self-induced vomiting, periods of fasting or laxative, diet pill, or diuretic abuse
  • Compulsive or excessive exercising
  • Discoloration or staining of the teeth
  • Feelings of isolation, depression, anxiety, or irritability

A person with an eating disorder may not show all or any of these signs. If you feel like someone you know, including yourself, may need help, start with an anonymous online screening, talk to the person about your concerns, or consult a doctor or therapist. To find more information on eating disorders, visit https://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/.

What are the treatments for an eating disorder?

Eating disorders require the care of a trained professional with expertise in the treatment of eating disorders. The most effective treatment involves some form of psychotherapy or counseling, coupled with careful attention to medical and nutritional needs. Treatment should be tailored to the patient’s individual issues. Treatment must address the eating disorder symptoms as well as psychological, biological, nutritional, interpersonal, and cultural forces that contribute to or maintain the disorder. Early diagnosis and intervention significantly enhance recovery.

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What are my rights if I am less than 18 years old?

If you are under the age of 18, you are considered a minor. As a minor, you have the right to:

  • Proper adult supervision and guidance
  • Age appropriate activities, special education, and vocational training
  • Appropriate structure and treatment separate from adults

As a minor, you can also agree to some treatments without the consent of your parent or guardian:

  • Treatment of venereal diseases or communicable diseases
  • Care for pregnancy
  • Treatment for substance or alcohol abuse
  • Treatment for emotional disturbances (mental health)

According to North Carolina law, a minor must have parental consent for an abortion, a reproductive sterilization, or to be admitted to a 24‐hour mental health or substance use treatment facility.

In an emergency, a minor with mental illness or a substance use disorder may be admitted to a 24-hour facility with their own consent, if a parent or guardian is not present and cannot be found. Within 24 hours of admission, the facility must notify parents and legal guardians of the admission unless the facility is unable to identify, locate, or contact them. More information can be found in G.S. 122C‐223.

Emancipated minors have rights similar to those for adults over 18 years old. Many laws also have contingencies for life-threatening situations. For more information about rights and responsibilities, visit Partner’s Rights and Responsibilities web page. For an overview of consent for medical treatment for minors, see Jill Moore’s report on the UNC School of Government website.

In the Community 

Household Waste Needed for Harm Reduction

Olive Branch Ministry is seeking donations of some bulky household waste. If you have empty coffee cans or laundry detergent bottles around the house, please consider donating them to be repurposed. Olive branch uses these items to encourage safe disposal of needles. This helps cut down on the spread of disease and helps keep used needles and your plastic waste out of landfills, rivers, parking lots, and playgrounds. Please contact Michele Mathis at olivebranchgals@gmail.com or 828-291-7023 and she will coordinate pickup or drop off.

Southwest Region School Mental Health Initiative Meeting

This meeting is an opportunity for school staff and members of the community in the Southwest Region of North Carolina to learn about the NC School Mental Health Initiative, provide feedback to the state, and to share resources and needs. The next meeting is on Tuesday, February 16, 2019, from 10 a.m.-12 p.m., at Cardinal Innovations Conference Center, 4855 Milestone Ave., Kannapolis.

Hickory Brain Injury Support Group: Raffle Drawing and Pizza Party

In February’s meeting, the support group will have a raffle prize drawing. To celebrate the hard work members put into the raffle, they will also have a pizza party including pizza, wings or tenders, and salad. Members and attendees are encouraged to bring desert to share. The meeting is on Tuesday, February 26, beginning at 6 p.m., at First United Methodist Church, 311 3rd Ave NE, Hickory. For more information, contact Travis Glass at 828-781-0778 or travis@crossroadscounseling.org. Also check out www.facebook.com/HickoryBISG.

Foster Love Gaston: A Home for Every Child

Join Gaston County DHHS, along with community partners, on Saturday, March 9, 2019, from 1-3:30 p.m., at Stuart Cramer High School, 101 Lakewood Rd., Belmont, for a day filled with fun, games, giveaways, and information on Fostering and Adopting. Don’t miss Guest Speaker Derek Clark – The Rapping Dad! Find out more on Facebook at www.facebook.com/fosteradoptgaston.

Portrait of Professional Caregivers: Their Passion, Their Pain

Many people who are in helping roles are affected by the trauma they witness. This documentary follows first responders, social workers, and other professionals who witness trauma and the effect this has on them. Attend the documentary screening and conversation on Wednesday, March 13, from 8:30 a.m.-10:30 a.m., at Lincoln County Schools, 201 Jeb Seagle Dr., Lincolnton. After watching the documentary, participants will discuss ideas for self-care and managing the stresses they experience. To attend, please register online. For more information, contact Jeanne Patterson at 828-446-4936 or jpatterson@partnersbhm.org.

I’m In! Community Inclusion Training

Learn how to implement the community inclusion of adults with serious mental illness through education, interaction, practical guidelines, and collaboration as a team member from your community. You have two opportunities to attend this training presented by Mark Salzer, Ph.D., Temple University Collaborative on Community Inclusion of Individuals with Psychiatric Disabilities:

Eastern Community Inclusion Training:
March 12, 2019
9 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Greenville, NC

More information and registration is available online

Western Community Inclusion Training:
March 14, 2019
9 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Morganton, NC

More information and registration is available online

You can attend alone or assemble a team of 3-5 community members to attend so that when you return to your home community, you will not only have momentum from participating in the conference, you will also have your team to move your work forward. There is no charge for attendees, and lunch is provided.

Community Resiliency Model® (CRM) Training

The Community Resiliency Model® (CRM) training teaches skills to re-set the natural balance of the nervous system. The model’s goal is to help to create “trauma-informed” and “resiliency-focused” communities that share a common understanding of the impact of trauma and chronic stress on the nervous system and how resiliency can be restored or increased. Attend on Tuesday, March 19, 2019, from 9 a.m.-12 p.m., at Partners’ Elkin Office, 200 Elkin Business Park Dr., Elkin. Please register online.

Behavioral Health Focus is published on the first and third Tuesday of each month and is intended to be a source of information for those working or interacting with behavioral health care in Burke, Catawba, Cleveland, Gaston, Iredell, Lincoln, Surry and Yadkin Counties. If you would like to contribute, contact Jeff Brucato at 704-884-2564 or jbrucato@partnersbhm.org. Items should be submitted by Wednesday at 3 p.m. for the next week’s issue.

Volume 4 – Issue 13
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