The Murray State Counseling Center is introducing the Healthy Body Image Program, a research initiative to promote health and wellness on campus.
By screening students for eating disorders and increasing access to care for body image issues at Murray State, the center can help students better manage their health, said counselor Sarah Kerrick.
The program starts with an online evaluation, used to understand each person’s behavior and level of self-esteem.
The test results will determine which program fits a student’s individual needs.
Once enrolled, the Healthy Body Image members can access their 8-10 week program via web or mobile app.
Program members can also connect with other users and a virtual coach for support and feedback.
The program is run through a study at Washington University in St. Louis and Stanford University and will run for two years.
The purpose of the research is to determine if an Internet-based program is effective for spotting eating disorders and reducing the number of eating disorders on college campuses.
Kerrick said she heard about the program through a professional group that specializes in the treatment and prevention of eating disorder on college campuses.
The Counseling Center is implementing the program in various ways, and the most successful method is through email.
“We have posted about the program online as well as sent out informational emails to possible interested student organizations and campus contacts,” she said.
The Counseling Center has been posting fliers promoting the program around campus and the counseling department also added the program to its webpage for students who are interested.
Onwubolu Veira, freshman from Delta, Nigeria, said she supports the goals of the Healthy Body Image Program.
“I am interested in it though I have no eating disorder,” Veira said. “But it will make me keep fit and stay healthy.”
The program is working in partnership with the Women’s Center and is funded through a grant from the National Institute of Mental Health.
Story by Nneka Maduewesi, Contributing writer