Nick and Sarah are at it again, bringing you yet another challenge….. 24 days, as many videos about the day’s body image topic as we can! Watch out world!
2011 has been a whirlwind year for me, Men Get Eating Disorders Too and of course my colleagues and I think this year we have seen some brilliant recognition of not only the charity but also the very reason we exist. While we still have a long way to go in what we do and what we want to achieve as it is the last day of 2011 I thought it would be a good idea to recap what has gone on!
First off at MGEDT we released our first ever national leaflet and poster campaign which was distributed around the UK to healthcare professionals, voluntary organisations and distributed heavily at events and conferences we attended throughout the year. This was shortly followed by our first ever national conference to address the issue of men and eating disorders, which featured some of our supporters, professionals and staff from the charity. We also had some good media coverage this year, including appearances live on national television, national and local radio, print and online articles and various blogs and guest columns.
Possibly the biggest achievement this year was the launch of our first ever live support chat sessions, the only sessions of their kind worldwide to offer specific support to men with eating disorders. This pilot session will continue to run into early 2012 but I personally feel it has been a massive success, giving men the opportunity to speak out about their issues in a safe environment, easing the isolation they have as a result of their issues.
Personally, I have had some fantastic experiences this year, from media appearances to challenges with Sarah, all the way to sitting on a research panel for Oxford University and the Men’s Health steering group. If anything it proves that the issues of eating disorders and body image in men are starting to be taken seriously, with more organisations and bodies realising the need to have representation of these issues, which is a big step in the world of men’s health.
It has also been a fantastic year for press, with several high profile research studies and figure releases highlighting the very need for increased service provision, better awareness and more support availability, both peer and professional.
In July 2011, the Royal College of General Practitioners released figures showing a 66% rise in the number of men being admitted for the treatment of eating disorders in the UK, urging GP’s to be more aware of the symptoms of eating disorders in men.
In August 2011 another set of statistics were released regarding the rise in eating disorder cases in young people, including a large amount of boys. This again led to national scale publicity in most major publications, radio and television.
In September 2011 there was a slightly different release which was all about the rise in weight loss surgery in young people, including a large amount of men. This was a good release as it is important to recognise that eating disorders are not necessarily restrictive but lesser known disorders such as binge and compulsive eating can cause just as many problems for sufferers and yet are not seen in the same light in restricting disorders such as anorexia and bulimia.
A lot of other stuff went on too, including the UK’s first ever fat talk free week, a highlight of self-harm in young people and a lot of focus on the effects of bullying to the mental health of all young people. We also saw really busy periods in both men’s health week and eating disorders awareness week. So much more happened in what I think has been our biggest and busiest year yet, but I have concentrated on some of the really key points here.
Undoubtedly, we still have a long way to go to make sure the appropriate recognition is given to male body image, eating disorders and mental health as a whole, but I would like to think that in 2011 we made a very good start. We have lots of stuff going on in 2012 to make sure that eating disorders and men’s mental health will remain firmly on the agenda and hopefully go that extra mile, building on what we have achieved this year. I would personally like to get out to more universities, deliver more training to professionals and stay on the media train to get our message out there.
All that is really left to do is thank everyone that has supported our campaigns, told their stories and contributed to the massive successes this year. It has been a good year for our cause, we have a long way to go still, but all in all, I think we made a good deal of progress.
Some of you may remember Nick Watts of MGEDT and myself (BodyGossipSarah) taking each other on in a charity band challenge earlier in the year where we spent a week getting photos of as many people in Oxford and Bristol wearing the MGEDT charity band, (I would like to quickly mention that I metaphorically wiped the floor with Nick last time.) Well once again we are up against each other- this time in our Advent Calendar Challenge.
This year the countdown to Christmas will not only be marked by the tiny piece of chocolate hiding behind that cardboard door- oh no! Nick and I have something far more exciting up our sleeves for you.
We out our heads together and compiled a list of 23 body image topics which we will be quizzing the public about over the next 23 days. Their responses will be caught on film and uploaded to our challenge blog each day (or every day we manage to get one!) then on Christmas eve, Nick and I will post a video of our experiences throughout the challenge. (We did contemplate doing the final video on Christmas day but concluded we would be far too busy eating, drinking and generally being merry.)
As always we want to hear from you too. We’ve added our list of different body image subjects below, along with the days we’ll be chatting about each of them. So if you’ve got something to say then get involved! Film a clip of yourself talking about the topic and send it in to us.
The Body image advent line-up.
1st The media and body image
2nd What’s your opinion on airbrushing?
3rd Doing it for the kids- what do under 16’s have to say?
4th A guy’s perspective
5th A girl’s perspective
6th Fad diets, would you?
7th Fat Talk- how does it affect you?
8th How does fashion fit into body image?
9th Your body growing up- what was it like in school?
11th Your perception of eating disorders
12th Scars? an eyesore or a story?
13th Older people, do you think about your body image?
14th Plastic surgery- are you for or against?
15th How would you define beauty?
16th Bad Hair Day! How important is your hair to you?
17th Sport- is there more pressure?
18th Piercing and tattoo’s- love, hate or regret the day? Would you have them?
19th Advertising- is it too much?
20th Ethnicity- different ideals?
21st Disability- how does it change your outlook on beauty?
22nd Teens- Body image hell, or learning to love it?
23rd All I want for Christmas… If you could see one thing changed what would it be?
24th Nick and Sarah talk about their December adventure!
So keep a lookout on the blogs over the next few weeks, and let us know your thoughts. You can also join in with related polls and discussions on the challenge at the following places-
http://Bodyimageadvent.tumblr.com - Here you will find all the vids in one place!
Of course don’t forget to follow us on twitter for commentary as we terrorise the streets! @nickinoxford @BodyGossipSarah
Wish us luck!
Sarah & Nick X
Check out my introduction video to the challenge:
You can check out Sarah’s video at http://bodygossiping.tumblr.com/