In a recent episode of the Red Band Society, one character’s mother reveals that she knew all along about her daughter’s anorexia. The daughter is eventually sent to a hospital, a move that most parents would make if they were to discover a child’s eating disorder.

But what happens when your parents neither know “the signs” nor what to do when the problem is out in the open? Often the answer is as simple as it is dangerous: nothing.

It’s not that my parents weren’t concerned. They just believed Jesucristo, the doctor of all doctors, was the only thing I needed. Healing would come from prayer, reading the Bible, and praising God. They didn’t understand that my disorder was a mental illness that required professional attention.

And, honestly, how could they?

Eating disorders aren’t exactly a hot topic in Latinx communities, and representations of the disease fool non-white and non-affluent people into thinking it’s a “them” issue.

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Media is a way for many new immigrants to understand a new country and figure out where they fit into it.
Just like not seeing themselves in TV and magazines can make them feel as if they are not truly a member of this nation, their absence in mediated portrayals of mental illnesses, like eating disorders, can deceive them into thinking it’s not something they should be concerned with.
Sadly, that’s not true.
Unlike mainstream media, eating disorders do not discriminate based on race, class, culture, age, gender, or ability.
If you or someone you know needs help, call NEDA’s toll-free, confidential helpline at 1-800-931-2237.