See the Change, Be the Change: Lighting the Towers at Denver Health

By Alexa Rivera

ACUTE and Denver Health are lighting up Pavilion A this week in a public display of support for National Eating Disorder Awareness (NEDAwareness) week. This year’s theme is See the Change, Be the Change, a theme that particularly resonates with us. For the past 20 years, ACUTE has put the advancement of treatment for eating disorders at the forefront of our mission. Through treatment, research and education we strive to continually be a part of the change – both medically and culturally.   


Why do we light the towers? 

Lighting the towers of Pavilion A at Denver Health is a visible symbol of our dedication to those suffering from eating disorders. Clad in green and blue along with 100 other buildings across the nation, lighting the towers serves to provide hope, support and visibility to individuals and their loved ones affected by eating disorders. 


Why is eating disorder awareness important? 

Awareness is important to increase public knowledge and understanding, support, resources and inspire recovery in those suffering from eating disorders. There are many misconceptions surrounding eating disorders that increased awareness helps correct. 

There are many people who believe eating disorders are a result of attention seeking or lack of willpower or self-control, contributing to social stigma and creating an environment where individuals and their families might view their eating disorder as a personal failing.  

Far too often eating disorder patients are represented as a thin, young white women, leading to the perception that those who fall outside of this paradigm don’t suffer from an eating disorder, effecting how individuals, their families and even clinicians view eating disorder patients. 

Another misconception is that eating disorders are not serious medical conditions. Eating disorders are among the deadliest mental illnesses. Second only to opioid use, over 10,000 people die because of their eating disorder every year1 and about a quarter of individuals with eating disorders will attempt suicide.2  

Building awareness helps address these misconceptions to foster a more effective, equitable environment that allows those who need it to seek care for their eating disorder. 


How Can I See the Change, Be the Change? 

  1. Be vocal: Be vocal as you correct misconceptions about eating disorders when you hear them 

  1. Be open: Be an open, non-judgmental source of comfort for your loved ones who may be suffering from an eating disorder 

  1. Be patient: Be patient with yourself or your loved one as they navigate treatment and recovery 

  2. Be involved: Be involved with local awareness, support or charity groups for eating disorders 



ACUTE Earns Prestigious Center of Excellence Designation from Anthem
In 2018, the ACUTE Center for Eating Disorders & Severe Malnutrition at Denver Health was honored by Anthem Health as a Center of Excellence for Medical Treatment of Severe and Extreme Eating Disorders. ACUTE is the first medical unit ever to achieve this designation in the field of eating disorders. It comes after a rigorous review process.

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