Eating Disorder Awareness Week at Bournemouth University


Bournemouth University (BU) held a number of events as part of Eating Disorder Awareness Week to help raise awareness about eating disorders and increase people’s understanding of conditions.

The events featured guest speakers talking about their personal journeys and battles with eating disorders. Sessions also looked at eating disorders in children and young people and the myths and truths about disorders.

Guest speaker John Evans, Author of ‘Becoming John: Anorexia’s Not Just for Girls’, gave a powerful account of his battles with anorexia over the last 14 years and stated “anorexia used to define me and took over every aspect of my life”.

Another guest, Ilona Burton (pictured) blogger at The Independent, spoke about her struggles with anorexia and bulimia, particularly throughout university, and her journey back to health.

Eating disorders affect 1.6 million people in the UK alone, claiming the highest number of lives of any other mental illness. Eating Disorder Awareness Week aims to increase people’s awareness and understanding of conditions.

Dr James Palfreman-Kay, Equality and Diversity Advisor at Bournemouth University said “I hope this week has increased people’s recognition, awareness and knowledge about eating disorders. John’s presentation was powerful and he managed to show how something like this can happen to anyone.”

Dr Sarah Williams, lecturer of Psychology at BU said “hopefully events like these will get people talking, tackle stigma and give people the confidence to help friends”.

One in ten people in the UK will have to deal with symptoms of Anorexia, Bulimia or Binge Eating at some stage throughout their lives. Research has shown that students are particularly vulnerable to mental illnesses due to high levels of stress and unhealthy university lifestyles.

Dr Williams has been conducting research into eating disorders for over eight years and is currently conducting research into the provision of online motivation interventions for those with eating disorders. Williams has also helped to setup the eating disorder research group to further explore issues related to early identification and interventions for eating disorders.

The events which took place at Bournemouth University’s Talbot Campus, were attended by over 400 people over the course of the week.

To find out more about dignity, diversity and equality at Bournemouth University, visit their You Tube channel to see some of the highlights undertaken by staff and students in the last year.