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Media Release – Eating disorder recovery and beyond: Respecting individuality and identity

Eating disorder recovery and beyond: Respecting individuality and identity

20th February 2024 – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE  

In 2023, over 1,000 people supporting someone with an eating disorder accessed free family support services from Bodywhys – The Eating Disorders Association of Ireland. Eating disorders are serious and complex mental illnesses with increased risk of mortality and suicide. With the appropriate, specialist treatment and support, people can and do recover. 

Eating Disorders Awareness Week 2024, taking place from the 26th February – 3rd March, shines a light on the theme “Eating disorder recovery and beyond: Respecting individuality and identity”.  

As part of the campaign, Bodywhys is hosting several free online events, focusing on personal experiences of recovery, the role of social connections, identity, supporting someone with an eating disorder, navigating body changes through the lifecycle and more. 

Ellen Jennings, Communications Officer with Bodywhys, said “An eating disorder develops over time, it can become a part of a person’s identity, and can become intertwined with their sense of self. What it means to recover is unique to each person. Breaking down the walls of isolation and self-criticism created by and reinforced by the illness is particularly challenging. Recovery can involve lots of trying something for the first time and trying again. Navigating a way out of an eating disorder mindset takes time and a lot of energy. There is no one way to do recovery.’’ 

Ellen adds ‘’People need support and understanding during the recovery process to explore what it means to them, to identify fears and to focus on feelings, not just issues around food or weight. The evidence is clear – recovery is not linear, nor does it happen in a vacuum. A person-centred approach is crucial to validate and recognise individual experiences and to ensure that each person feels heard and supported, every step of the way.’’ 

Emma, a person with lived experience of an eating disorder said “From someone who never believed it could, it really does get better. You are another vivid version of yourself at a point in a bright future, looking back in gratitude.’’  

Laura, a person with lived experience said “My recovery was volatile with lots of steps forward and backward. My family and I were in constant search of that one cure for my eating disorder, which obviously did not exist”. 

Ellen emphasises “A person does not need a diagnosis to avail of our support services. We are here to listen. We invite anyone who wants to learn more, support someone or raise awareness to get involved this Eating Disorders Awareness Week, you can find all the details on our website and social media platforms.”  

People can and do recover from eating disorders  


Notes for Editors  

  • Bodywhys is the national voluntary organisation supporting people affected by eating disorders. An estimated 188,895 people in Ireland will experience an eating disorder at some point in their lives. (Source: HSE National Clinical Programme for Eating Disorders)  
  • In 2023, over 7,500 secondary school students were reached through school talks provided by Bodywhys.   
  • Bodywhys online psychoeducation PiLaR programme for family members, parents and carers starts on Wednesday, March 6th 2024, running from 7pm – 9pm. To book a free place, please contact Christopher via
  • Bodywhys Online Support Groups, for men, students, young people and adults are available at
  • Email support and a listening ear can be accessed via
  • Bodywhys Helpline Number: 01 2107906  

For further information, please contact:  
Ellen Jennings  
Communications Officer  
Tel: 087 7769708