Question: My friend has started to idolized a YouTuber named Eugenia who is a literal walking skeleton and wants to be like her. How do I help my friend?
What an amazing friend you are to be concerned about your friend. If you are feeling concerned about her health it would be good to talk to her about your concerns. It has been speculated that Eugenia Coney might have an eating disorder.
If you feel like you can talk to your friend about your concerns for their health, there are resources out there for you to access. At the National Eating Disorders Association they have a lot of resources you can access to help you support your friend. They have a list of tips to talk to your friend. Some of their suggestions include:
- Be caring, but be firm. Caring about your friend does not mean being manipulated by them. Your friend must be responsible for their actions and the consequences of those actions. Avoid making rules, promises, or expectations that you cannot or will not uphold. For example, “I promise not to tell anyone.” Or, “If you do this one more time, I’ll never talk to you again.”
- Remove potential stigma. Remind your loved one that there’s no shame in admitting you struggle with an eating disorder or other mental health issue. Many people will be diagnosed with these issues during their lifetimes, and many will recover.
- Avoid overly simplistic solutions. Being told “Just stop” or “Just eat” isn’t helpful. It can leave the sufferer feeling frustrated, defensive, and misunderstood.
It is also important that you take care of yourself and seek out support.
Thank you for being a good friend. Good luck.