PrimaCare Community Family Health Team (PCCFHT) invited community members to a free presentation of “Developing A Healthier Relationship with Eating and Body Image” at the Cowan Community Health Hub in Paris on Wednesday, March 15, 2023.
PCCFHT collaborated with Samantha Kittell, MSW, a registered social worker from the Centre of Psychology and Emotion Regulation for a presentation that discussed the complex development of body image in teens.
The presentation was the first in the Mental Health and Addictions Speaker Series that will be taking place leading up to Mental Health Awareness Month in May.
Kittell opened the presentation with an overview around body image and how social media and social interactions can impact our wellbeing.
“We’ll also talk about ways to take care of yourself and self-care that doesn’t connect to diet or nutrition or exercise,” Kittell said.
Throughout the presentations she provided insightful terms and definitions, as well as an inside look into how negative body images may start and the differences between disordered eating and eating disorders.
Those in attendance were shown ads that can be seen every day in a magazine, on the bus or in social media and television as they portray the “ideal man or woman”. Kittell shared how constantly seeing these images often contribute to someone forming a negative body image when they can’t look like what they see.
Kittell spoke to the many health care professionals in the room about how to better handle and understand those living with an eating disorder. She spoke about alternative ways of eating without dieting or diet culture, how to balance a better relationship with food and how to first guide patients to that step without making a big jump. Kittell gave tips about how families can help and support their loved ones, as well as what to look out for.
She spoke about how to redirect and reinforce thinking towards a positive body image and how to eat more intuitively by listening to our bodies like we did as infants.
After the presentation, those in attendance asked questions such as how to better address certain topics or fill out medical forms as to not push someone farther as a dietician. Others asked about how to speak to family members who make comments to their children, or how to ask the right questions to let someone open up to them in the medical office.
The next speak in the speaker series will feature Brianna Kerr, MSW, RSW from Brant Mental Health Solutions for part one of two in a series called “Riding the Waves of Anxiety.”