“The first week of February is marked as Eating Disorder Awareness Week. Eating disorders are often thought to only affect our younger generation, girls in particular. But the truth is eating disorders can affect both men and women of all ages. It is often an inner struggle that is hidden from friends and family.
“Over one million Canadians are living with a diagnosed eating disorder, and millions of others struggle with food and weight preoccupation daily. Eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of any mental disorder. It doesn’t have to be that way.
“This year I welcome everyone to be a part of the discussion by using the hashtags #NotAChoice and #EDAW2017 on social media to tell your story or ask for help. We must work together to put life-saving resources and hope into the hands of those who need it most.
“Notable landmarks will be lit in purple in support for eating disorder awareness. Help end the stigma surrounding eating disorders by reaching out and engaging in dialogue. If you think a friend or a family member is suffering, encourage them to seek help.
“I would like to thank healthcare professionals and the National Eating Disorder Information Centre for their hard work and advocacy. They have made it possible for those suffering from eating disorders to access help at any hour of the day. They are also working tirelessly to improve general education and knowledge surrounding this difficult issue.”