Global reaction to new eating disorders community

Debbie Watson, founder of Wednesday’s Child

A NEW social enterprise, launched in Suffolk during Mental Health Awareness Week, has seen a wave of support and interaction from those affected by eating disorders across the world.

Confirmation of the early success comes as people and health organisations around the globe prepare to mark World Eating Disorders Day this Sunday, and to ask more people to recognise the universally recognised ‘Nine Truths’ around the illness.

Wednesday’s Child curates gift boxes for those battling with, or in recovery from, eating disorders and other mental health illnesses. It also delivers events and training designed to increase understanding about the devastating illness.

The business was founded by 41-year-old Debbie Watson, who had herself experienced anorexia for two decades.

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Since its launch, Wednesday’s Child has received orders from across the United Kingdom, but also from Australia, Canada and the United States.

It is now in consultation with healthcare organisations, hospitality businesses and educational bodies about supporting specific audiences.

“The reaction to Wednesday’s Child has been incredible from the outset, with businesses, care-givers and those on a recovery journey all keen to applaud our intention,” said Debbie.

“Not only have people evidenced their enthusiasm by purchasing boxes for those in need, but we’ve been invited to take a seat at several important tables, regarding the delivery of eating disorder healthcare support.”

She added: “Our direct interactions with individuals through discreet social media use in closed communities, means we’re very quickly getting a picture of how people feel about service provision regarding eating disorders.

“I very much want to use this resource going forward to understand what more can be done and how else Wednesday’s Child can flex its muscle in an area which matters so much.”

This Sunday – 2nd June – marks World Eating Disorder Day, and sees a global call for organisations and individuals to recognise a series of key ‘TRUTHS’  about what an eating disorder is and is not.

The nine cited by the action day organisers are:

Truth #1: Many people with eating disorders look healthy, yet may be extremely ill.
Truth #2: Families are not to blame, and can be the patients’ and providers’ best allies in treatment.
Truth #3: An eating disorder diagnosis is a health crisis that disrupts personal and family functioning.
Truth #4: Eating disorders are not choices, but serious biologically influenced illnesses.
Truth #5: Eating disorders affect people of all genders, ages, races, ethnicities, body shapes and weights, sexual orientations, and socioeconomic statuses.
Truth #6: Eating disorders carry an increased risk for both suicide and medical complications.
Truth #7: Genes and environment play important roles in the development of eating disorders.
Truth #8: Genes alone do not predict who will develop eating disorders.
Truth #9: Full recovery from an eating disorder is possible. Early detection and intervention are important.

Commenting on these truths, Debbie said: “It’s very much part of our work at Wednesday’s Child to try to help ensure people understand the myths around eating disorders which are so often perpetuated.

“The action day is a really important part of emphasising this, and it forms a key component of the empathy training we’re now able to deliver for schools and businesses.

“Communicating the realities around eating disorders is vital if we want to change the level of suffering which exists right now.”

For more information about Wednesday’s Child, to collaborate, or to commission awareness training for staff teams, please visit www.wednesdayschild.co.uk or email debbie@wednesdayschild.co.uk