Updated guidelines for communicating about eating disorders to promote awareness and decrease stigma

Best practice advice for anyone communicating about eating disorders is now available in a new resource from Mindframe and The National Eating Disorders Collaboration (NEDC).

The updated Guidelines for reporting and portrayal of eating disorders: A Mindframe resource for communicators have been released for Body Image and Eating Disorders Awareness Week (BIEDAW), September 6-12 2021.

In line with the theme of BIEDAW 2021, Respecting All Bodies, this resource acknowledges the diversity of people that experience eating disorders. The guidelines feature inclusive language and reflect the most recent evidence in the mental health sector.

Mindframe has redeveloped this resource in partnership with the NEDC, Butterfly Foundation, and key media professionals, with the shared goal of supporting safe communication about eating disorders.

NEDC National Director Dr Beth Shelton says the NEDC encourages media and communication professionals to read the updated guidelines and to put the principles into practice.

“The media has an important role in increasing awareness about eating disorders, and in communicating in a way that reduces stigma and harm."

NEDC National Director Dr Beth Shelton

Butterfly Foundation CEO Kevin Barrow says responsible reporting includes acknowledging eating disorders as a serious mental illness and breaking down stigma by sharing stories of lived experience.

In recent years we have seen a shift from stereotypical and alarmist eating disorder media representations to stories that are empowering and inspiring. These guidelines are a reminder to journalists to consistently portray eating disorders in a way that is safe and representative of different presentations as well as experiences.“

Butterfly Foundation CEO Kevin Barrow

Everymind Project Lead Dr Elizabeth Paton says the launch of this resource comes as the Mindframe team has observed increased reporting and communication on eating disorders, particularly related to social media and the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We encourage all people who are communicating publicly to follow these guidelines, including media professionals, public relations practitioners and those contributing to social media."

Everymind Project Lead Dr Elizabeth Paton

The Mindframe team is available to support communicators and organisations in putting these guidelines into practice. For further information and support, please contact the Mindframe team.

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