Dear world, GEN Z needs your help

By Jennifer Yu, All Bodies Coalition

Too often forgotten in the discussion surrounding eating disorders, and unfortunately too often the demographic most impacted by them, GEN Z is struggling now more than ever to find ways to love, honor, and nourish their bodies.

Eating disorders thrive with unrealistic expectations

Following a decade-long surge of social media and it’s inevitable integration to modern society, GEN Z, of whom have grown up at the hands of apps like Instagram, TikTok, and Youtube, now find it hard to establish a strong sense of self confidence in an era that promotes comparison and near perfect standards of beauty.

Lost in this battle, we find teens that grow up with insurmountable insecurities and a strong desire to change themselves in order to conform with societal expectations of beauty. However, as more teens fall victim to toxic diet culture, an unfortunate and extremely dangerous byproduct has been produced — a large group of teens, struggling to love their own bodies, and silently battling a modern epidemic of eating disorders.

Eating disorders in teens often go unnoticed

Eating disorders, for teens, are oftentimes go unnoticed. For female identifying individuals, the development of serious diet habits (that should be a source of concern) are often written off as silly diet fads. While for young men, the idea of sharing mental health struggles, let alone struggles with an eating disorder, are rarely ever mentioned over the fear of being perceived weak. And most dangerously, marginalized communities, like those in the LGBTQIA+, Black, and Hispanic communities, find it harder to share their stories over the fear of being overlooked, unheard, and unnoticed.

But while teens across the board from all groups alike struggle to find support as they face a struggle uniquely challenging to their generation, it’s disheartening to see older generations neglecting to step in and offer a helping hand.

A Call To Action

Today, we call upon teens and adults to work together, collectively, to create a space where teens feel safe discussing not only struggles with eating disorders, but also mental health to cultivate a new national culture that encourages peer-to-peer support and community empowerment. That’s because without a strong network of people behind their backs, these teens may have to fight a long, silent battle against eating disorders, anxiety, or depression without ever truly feeling heard or knowing that someone is there to care about their well-being. By starting to build this network today, even if it is from the ground up, we are ensuring that teens today and in the generations to come, will never have to walk these difficult paths themselves, and that…

They feel supported, they feel heard, and that they feel loved. We can make it happen.

Resources

ANAD provides a weekly peer-led support group specifically for teens and young adults. To view the current schedule, register, or learn more visit our Support Groups page. 

This post was originally published by Jennifer Yu, founder of All Bodies Coalition. Read the original post here.

Jennifer Yu, All Bodies Coalition

Starting as just a Discord community in 2021, the All Bodies Coalition was founded to give a voice to teens struggling with eating disorders. Now, ABC has grown to become an organization that leverages all its platforms to initiate conversations and make change in the eating disorder recovery space.