Eating Disorders Cause More Deaths Than Any Other Mental Illness and the Pandemic Is Making It Worse

With the emergence of the coronavirus into practically every community around the globe comes the emergence, or for some, re-emergence, of another invisible enemy -- eating disorders. Stay at home orders, unpredictable patterns of food availability, and the stress and trauma that comes from dealing with a pandemic have created what many are calling the "perfect storm" for a huge spike in eating disorders, which have "the highest mortality rate of any mental illness." But in the United States, the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA) has a plan to save lives, starting with our most vulnerable -- children.

Sign the petition to urge Congress to pass the Eating Disorders Prevention in Schools Act of 2020 (Eating Disorders PSA) without delay!

Eating Disorders PSA would address the need for eating disorder prevention and intervention in schools across the United States, recommending ways in which their nutritional and physical education programs can be molded to recognize, address, and prevent eating disorders. NEDA cites that every month, "one million children engage in risky behaviors in an attempt to control their weight," as proof that schools are truly the front lines of this crisis. Children are impressionable and vulnerable, so it comes as no surprise that research tells us early detection and treatment of almost all mental illnesses, including eating disorders, improves the chances of recovery.

Research also tells us that in food insecure households, children are way more likely to develop eating disorders. The implications of this are twofold -- one, communities of color will be disproportionately affected since they're more likely to suffer from food insecurity or live in food deserts. Two, the number of households experiencing food insecurity is higher than ever due to a whopping 15% and rising unemployment rate and the disruption of food supply chains.

Currently, 30 million people in the United States suffer from some form of an eating disorder. And experts are saying that even when a vaccine is developed and COVID-19 is behind us, the mental health fallout will be devastating -- citing the aftermaths of 9/11, the SARS epidemic, and Hurricane Ike which saw massive spikes in depression, anxiety, and PTSD. We need to treat mental illness early and seriously, which is exactly what Eating Disorders PSA could do.

This act needs to pass through Congress now! The sooner it becomes law, the better. Sign the petition today.
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