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Eating disorder survivor inspires young people to take care of mental wellbeing

A mental health researcher at the University of Edinburgh is hosting a free workshop to support young people with their wellbeing.

Shalhavit-Simcha Cohen has teamed up with the Multi-Service Eating Disorders Association (MEDA) to host the workshop on Saturday 13 February from 10am – 11.15am Eastern Time (3pm – 4.15pm UK time).

The event will focus on creating a sustainable structure for our mental health and outline specific goals and techniques to address our well-being.

Shalhavit-Simcha Cohen said:

We really hope that the workshop will give people more awareness about their mental wellbeing, including increased levels of empathy for themselves and for others.

The workshop will include the screening of a short film by Shalhavit called Is it Okay to Have a Bad Day?, a film specifically aimed at raising awareness about mental health among young people. Participants will be able to provide feedback on the video, which the project team will use to improve its message.

Shalhavit, who herself has battled eating disorders thanks to the help of organisations such as MEDA, wants the workshop to be fun as well as hard-hitting on the importance of mental wellbeing.

According to the charity Beat, around 1.25m people in the UK alone have an eating disorder, with health professionals seeing a 150% increase in people reaching out for support during the pandemic.

Shalhavit added:

I have intentionally made the film to be vulnerable yet fun as I’ve found from my research that this is an effective way of engaging people with the issues.

We are all dealing with something in our lives – perhaps now more than ever. I want everyone to gain the tools that I managed to get. Tools which allow us to be responsible for our own emotional health and wellbeing during these times.

The workshop is part of a wider campaign by Posifest, a group founded by postgraduate students at the University of Edinburgh and led by Shalhavit, which is committed to promoting mental health and wellbeing.

The group celebrated its first major in-person event back in March 2020, and as lockdown began it has shifted to daily online presentations and running events focusing on self-growth, empowerment, and coping skills.

You can register for the event online.