April 20, 2024

During Eating Disorder Awareness Week from Feb. 21- 27, California Baptist University’s Counseling Center made it their mission to bring further awareness to the issue on the CBU campus.

Eating disorders are real and prominent on college campuses all across America no matter if it affects men or women based on race, ethnicity, age or gender.

On Feb. 24 and 25, the Counseling Center set up a table in Stamps Courtyard for students to take an anonymous, free online screening test to see if he or she may be struggling with eating disorders.

“It’s a great screening because it’s anonymous. A lot of times students have a hard time coming to the Counseling Center for the first time having to meet with a stranger to talk about their issues,” said Natalie Rios, assistant director at the Counseling Center.

The convenience of the free, simple and anonymous screening made it desirable to many students.

“(It) is a great way to open up the door to get them thinking about what’s going on in their lives and to think about how to utilize the Counseling Center,” Rios said.

As a result of taking the test, many students have already been calling the Counseling Center to set up appointments and seek further help, information and resources.

Ciara Sitjar, junior psychology major, said she has been struggling with an eating disorder since the third grade.

“I always had this idea that I am not good enough and my body wasn’t enough,” she said. “I would be lying if I said I was 100 percent over it now, but on my good days, I just tell myself ‘You got this,’ ‘Your body works,’ ‘You are healthy’ and go on with my day.”

Sitjar said she thinks it is great CBU is bringing awareness to this issue, as so many people struggle with it but do not seek help. This is why the Counseling Center strives to be a safe haven for anyone who may be struggling.

Rios also explained the Counseling Center partners with Valenta, an eating disorder clinic in the Inland Empire.

“It’s a great partnership because we can provide referrals to our students,” Rios said. “We want to help you any way we can, whether that means coming to us , or connecting you with someone off campus.”

Overall, Rios said they wanted to let students know the Counseling Center cares about them.

“We wanted to raise this event to let students know that our Counseling Center cares about them and we’re willing to help them in any way, and we’ll do the best that we can to walk them through this journey,” Rios said.

Rios also mentioned the Counseling Center provides online screening tests all year-round for students.

Tests are available for depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorders, as well.

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