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Meet Beat: The UoB students saying ‘sock it’ to eating disorders

They have events going on throughout the week to raise awareness about and provide support for people with eating disorders.

With an estimated 1.25 million people in the UK living with an eating disorder, UoB Beat are on a mission to inform students of the devastating impacts of eating disorders.

You've probably seen Beat around campus this week, in co-ordinated white hoodies handing out pairs of socks to passersby outside Bournbrook, with friendly smiles and offering support and information on other events happening on campus throughout the week.

We spoke to Clare, President, and Anastasia, Events Officer, to find out more.

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What events are being put on this week?

"From Monday through to Thursday we have the sock exchange, where we give out free socks (we've got 2000, half mens, half womens), and in each pair of socks we put a business card and on it it has our name, our details, the student helpline number, and basically where you can get help for instant support. The great thing about Beat is that everyone can use it: if you're worried about someone, it's best always to ask the experts. We also have our contact details on there, because whilst we can't give actual specified advice, we are the best to signpost. We'll find the links for you, which helps when welfare can be so overwhelming.

"And on Thursday we've got two events, the first being the 'Sock It To Stress' workshop in the Harvey Milk room, from 1-5. We have some tea and some snacks, play some music, face masks, nail paint, whatever, people can come along and bring their work to work somewhere that isn't the library, or they're welcome to come down and chat about anything. We cannot advise the next cause of action, but we can give links and numbers and people to talk to. We're always happy to listen and provide a safe space.

"And in the evening Joe's have kindly let us have ten questions in the quiz which are all about mythbusting eating disorders."

And what's happening this sports night?

"20 sports teams are getting involved this sports night, wearing their outfits with socks and donating £1 per ticket sold to the charity. Last year we raised £565. It gets all genders involved too, with the most enthusiastic teams being American Football and Men's Rugby and Hockey! We've had a lot of support from male teams which has been fantastic, with American Football inviting us to have a chat with them to learn more about the charity, and ended with them saying they'll give £2 per ticket!"

What can someone do to help a friend they're worried about?

"Our advice would always be to consult the Beat website, read it back to back, and, if in doubt, ask us and we can send any resources you might need."

How can you maintain a healthy relationship with body image and food at uni?

"Coming to university is one of the biggest triggers, even if they've not shown any signs of an eating disorder in the past. It's a biological, scientific thing. It happens.

"It's a time when so many things are changing, and suddenly there's work pressure and being alone, and what's really important at uni is having a strong support system, and being able to use it. If it helps, joining us, we have socials throughout the year for likeminded people to come along and join a really diverse mix. At our core we care about a mental health issue, and when you have that compassion it can be really nice to be in their company. We have pub quizzes, yoga, we go bowling, if we go for meals it's optional and we're a mindful group."

You can find out more about Beat and their events through their Facebook page.

To find out more and for information on how to get help about eating disorders, you can go to the Beat website.