Silver Hill Hospital and the New Canaan Library are collaborating to observe National Eating Disorders Awareness Week and provide education about eating disorders.

National Eating Disorders Awareness Week takes place Sunday, Feb. 23, to March 1.

"Identifying mental illness is an important first step toward treatment, and we can all make a difference through dialogue in our community," Dr. Sigurd Ackerman, president and medical director of Silver Hill Hospital, said. "Eating disorders are becoming more prevalent -- up to 24 million people have an eating disorder. "Everyone should know about the nature of eating disorders and their symptoms. Information about eating disorders, reading lists and links to websites will be available at the New Canaan Library the week of Feb. 23 to March 1."

Registered nurse Vicki Hoey, from Silver Hill Hospital, based in New Canaan, will present "How to Foster a Positive Body Image in Teens" from 6 to 7 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 26, in the Adrian Lamb Room of the New Canaan Library, 151 Main St.

Hoey will also be available from 5 to 7 p.m. Monday, Feb. 24, in the lobby of the library to answer any questions related to eating disorders and other mental illnesses.

"The U.S. surgeon general has reported that stigma is a major barrier to people seeking help when they need it," Laurie Iffland, head of reference services at the library, said. "That's why awareness events such as this are so important. We want people to understand mental illness and join in conversations throughout our community. The library provides a platform for learning and conversation. The more people know, the better they can help themselves or help their loved ones get the support they need."

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