Suicide is Major Cause of Death Among Those With Eating Disorders

Screening for Mental Health, Inc. Partners With National Eating Disorders Association to Provide Free Eating Disorder Screenings at During National Eating Disorder Awareness Week, Feb. 22 – 28

WELLESLEY HILLS, Mass. – Feb. 10, 2015 – Screening for Mental Health, Inc., the pioneer in large-scale mental health screenings for the public, is urging everyone to learn the signs and symptoms of eating disorders and suicide during the National Eating Disorders Association’s (NEDA) 28th annual National Eating Disorders Awareness Week (NEDAwareness Week), Feb. 22-28. This campaign brings attention to the critical needs of people with eating disorders and their families.

In partnership with NEDA, Screening for Mental Health is providing free, anonymous eating disorder screenings at as part of NEDAwareness Week.

In the United States, 30 million people will be impacted by an eating disorder – which has the highest mortality rate of any mental health disorder – at some point in their lifetime. Individuals with anorexia nervosa are eight times more likely to attempt suicide than the general population and suicide is a leading cause of death for those with this disorder. Eating disorders often co-occur with other mental illnesses and approximately 50-75 percent of eating disorder patients also suffer from major depressive disorder. However, because of the stigma surrounding eating disorders and mental health, only one in 10 will seek treatment.

“There is a common misperception that eating disorders are simply an obsession with eating or dieting. Eating disorders are serious mental health disorders that require treatment,” said Douglas Jacobs, M.D., associate clinical professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and founder and medical director at Screening for Mental Health, Inc. “Treatment for eating disorders is effective and recovery is possible for those that seek help.”

“As with most illnesses, early intervention and detection are the keys to recovery,” said Lynn Grefe, president & CEO of NEDA. “Online screenings are a great first step toward treatment. They offer a confidential way for individuals to learn if they – or a friend or family member – has the signs or symptoms of an eating disorder, then connects them to local resources for further information and help.”

This is the third consecutive year Screening for Mental Health and NEDA have partnered to provide this service during NEDAwareness Week.  During the 2014 campaign, approximately 27,898 eating disorder screenings were completed. Of those, 76% percent scored positive for symptoms consistent with an eating disorder and 40 percent planned to seek further evaluation.

Eating Disorder Screenings

This year marks the 20th anniversary of Screening for Mental Health’s National Eating Disorder Screening Program, which educates and screens individuals for eating disorders and connects those who may be at risk with local treatment resources.

Online screenings consist of a series of questions designed to indicate whether symptoms of an eating disorder are present. The screenings also includes a question about suicide. If an individual provides a positive answer during this question, a pop-up message appears that provides the individual with emergency resources such as 911 or the National Suicide Prevention Helpline, if needed.   

After completing the screening, participants receive immediate feedback and referral information to local resources for further information or treatment. Screenings will be available online and in-person at organizations across the country. Visit to locate a participating organization in your area or to take a free, anonymous online screening.

Warning Signs:

Eating Disorders: To find more information on types of eating disorders and their symptoms, please visit. In addition, NEDA’s live Helpline, 800- 931-2237, is available Monday-Thursday from 9 a.m. – 9 p.m. EST and Friday 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. EST to provide support for those who may be struggling with an eating disorder.  Or visit and click to chat with a Helpline volunteer.

Suicide: To learn the signs of suicide and how to help, visit: The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline provides free and confidential emotional support to people in suicidal crisis or emotional distress 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. If you or someone you know is in crisis, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (8255), call 911 or go to your nearest emergency room.

About the National Eating Disorders Association

The National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA), headquartered in New York City, is the leading U.S. non-profit organization supporting individuals and families affected by eating disorders. NEDA serves as a catalyst for prevention, cures and access to quality care. Each year, NEDA helps millions of people across the country find information and appropriate treatment resources through its toll-free, live helpline, its many outreach programs and website. NEDA advocates for advancements in the field and envisions a world without eating disorders. For more information, visit

About Screening for Mental Health

Screening for Mental Health, Inc. (SMH), the pioneer of large-scale mental health screening for the public, provides innovative mental health and substance abuse resources, linking those in need with quality treatment options. SMH programs, offered online and in-person, educate, raise awareness, and screen individuals for common mental health disorders and suicide. Thousands of organizations worldwide including hospitals, military installations, colleges, secondary schools, and corporations utilize our educational and screening programs, and in turn, have reached millions of people ranging from teenagers to adults. For more information about Screening for Mental Health, visit