Promoting a Healthier Perception of Body Image through Raising Awareness about Eating Disorders among Youths

Eating disorders (EDs) are on the rise in Singapore. The increasing trend in the number of EDs cases, although known, is hardly researched on and this worrying situation necessitates the need for intervention to create a growing understanding and recognition of this issue in our society.

This Capstone project thus aimed to gather information from the ground for people with EDs, and to share the information about EDs to the general public in a bid to remove the stigma associated with it. However, the team faced several challenges initially due to the sensitivity and confidentiality associated with the issue. People with EDs are no doubt a hidden community in Singapore.

The team collaborated with the Singapore Association for Mental Health (SAMH) to discuss how they could intervene without being overly intrusive. They also conducted an interview with a dietitian from NUH to gain more insights into EDs and the possible intervention methods they could undertake. Finally, the team decided on a two-part intervention with the purpose of promoting a healthier perception of body image by raising awareness of EDs in a Singapore’s university context.

Through the FGD and dialogue session, the team hope to have achieved the aim of creating a ripple effect, starting with NUS students and reaching to their friends and family. They recognized that there is more that can be done and hope that they have inspired and empowered other youths, however small the reach is, to follow in the tracks and raise more awareness to support this vulnerable population of persons of eating disorders.

Reflections from Capstone team members

“At the end of this project, my biggest takeaway was my own awareness of EDs as well as my newfound understanding of awareness campaigns. As a group of students with no professional expertise on the topic of EDs, nor being survivors of EDs, there is only so much we could do to spread awareness. It might be possible for us to keep pushing for more ED support groups, but we might not be able to spearhead most of these activities and would need to rely greatly on professionals and ED-survivors in order to sustain the support group. Thus, in my opinion, our Capstone project is merely a stepping stone to raising awareness about EDs. To really increase awareness effectively in the long term, we should try to help network the appropriate organisations together such that these organisations with similar interests and goals would be able to share their resources and extend their reach beyond what they can do alone.”

– Lee Jun Hui, Year 2, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences

 

“With the knowledge I have gained from preliminary studies, interviews and sharing sessions, this Capstone experience not only taught me more about EDs as a form of mental illness but also prompted me to rethink my ideals of body image. I hope that this, too, applies to the rest of the students who were involved in our project and a ripple effect can be created to further support the victims of EDs. Finally, there are so many things to be grateful for from this Capstone journey: having insisted on doing an uncommon topic instead of taking the easy way out; having something to learn at every phase of the project; having made a difference to the ones who participated; and building stronger ties with the people I worked with.”

– Yeo Wan Ling, Year 2, Faculty of Science