Eating disorder survivors, advocates gather at State House

Eating disorder survivors, advocates gather at State House

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - Those who've suffered from an eating disorder will tell you it can be a silent killer.

This week is Eating Disorder Awareness week in South Carolina. At the State House on Wednesday, survivors such as Mandy Medlock and advocates pushed their message of awareness for people to speak out and get help.

They were also pushing lawmakers to speak on the topic they say people may not realize is prevalent in South Carolina.

Wednesday was the first time survivor Mandy Medlock, who is now a wife and mother of two, spoke about her struggle. From the age of 15 until 21 and even later in life, Medlock suffered from eating disorders.

She hopes lawmakers can help make treatment more easily accessible to those who face anorexia or bulimia.

There are resolutions passed that draw attention to the matter. As someone who once suffered from an eating disorder, Medlock says those resolutions, alone, are not enough. She says it's important that people get treatment and hopes for a plan, backed by the legislature, that can help those who lack insurance to secure funding or to somehow be treated for the eating disorder, which is classified as a mental illness.

"I think that people often associate a stigma with mental illness, and they don't seek treatment. Part of my job, as a person in recovery, is to let people know to come out, get the help that they need and that they can recover," Medlock explained.

The resolutions backed by the women's caucuses of both House and Senate only make this week Eating Disorder Awareness Week. March 2 will actually be Eating Disorder Awareness Day.

Medlock says bringing up the topic alone is a start, but she hopes there can be legislation, eventually, to help too.

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