My daughter Shelby died when she was only 19, losing a 2-year battle with eating disorders.
Shelby had every reason to live and a world of opportunity before her when she was diagnosed, but eating disorders stole her life ~ and forever changed mine. Stories about eating disorders don’t have to end this way and Google can help.
By placing a banner that displays a helpline and recovery support on top of the results pages of eating disorders queries, Google can promote health and recovery.
Currently, there are over 50 million results on your pages related to searches for Pro-ANA (promoting ANorexiA) and Pro-Mia (promoting buliMIA) sites, and millions more for "thinspo" and "thinspiration" searches. These pages encourage the harmful thoughts and behaviors that make eating disorders deadly, but offer no hope of recovery.
I am asking you to strategically place a banner on these health damaging pages with a helpline number and a link to potentially life-saving information from those like the National Eating Disorders Association ( a 501c3). National Eating Disorders Association provides support to enable recovery for those in need, and for those who love them. This would be using your technology and platforms for good.
You may not know that eating disorders have the highest mortality rates of any mental illness.
Despite our family’s efforts, Shelby was unable to see past the distorted images in her mind to revive the beautiful, vibrant person we knew her to be. Shelby isn’t the only life lost to eating disorders, and my husband and I are not the only parents, siblings, friends, families, neighbors and classmates to have lost someone we love. Everybody knows somebody.
30% of high school girls and 16% of high school boys suffer from disordered eating including binging, vomiting, fasting, laxitive and diet pill use, and compulsive exercise.
42% of girls in grades 1-3 want to be thinner and 51% of 9-10 year old girls feel better about themselves when they're dieting,
53% of 13 year old girls are unhappy with their bodies; by the time they're 17, 78% of them will be
40% of newly identified cases of anorexia are in girls 15-19,
Nearly 25 million people - male and female, girls and boys - are suffering from anorexia, bulimia or binge eating.
With eating disorders, too often the voice of reason is overwhelmed by the voice of the illness. Your support can help change that.
You've already done this for those considering suicide or needing immediate help from poison control. Your positive response to those issues has inspired me to ask you to take similar action for eating disorders. While there can be an immediacy of need related to thoughts of suicide or an incidence of poisoning, in a world where our children are bombarded by "thinspiration" and images representing so-called "ideals" they won't and can't look like, every moment counts just as preciously for those who have or may be predisposed to eating disorders.
We're all searching for something. Sometimes, it's support and help we need.
Ten years ago I saw my daughter overwhelmed by the voice of eating disorders. Please, please use your power and platforms to help the tens of millions of people like Shelby, and families like ours.
Google can make a difference. I hope you will.
Kathy Benn started this petition with a single signature, and now has 10,487 supporters. Start a petition today to change something you care about.