I have not been an avid social media user, but recently, friends and acquaintances have brought to my attention that there are literally millions of sites that promote and encourage anorexia, (Pro-ana), bulimia (Pro-mia), and thinness (Thinspo & Thinspiration). They shared their concerns about these sites with me, knowing that my daughter, Shelby, had died from eating disorders.
After doing some research, I learned that Google already supplies helplines in response to queries for suicide and poisoning, but they offered no potentially lifesaving information in response to queries about eating disorders or the health harming sites that inspire weight loss like it is a competitive sport.
Since Google has already recognized that they could help with other life threatening issues, maybe, with enough public support, we could persuade them to offer hope and support for recovery from eating disorders. Though many people don't realize it, anorexia has the highest death rate of all mental illnesses. By making others aware of the facts and statistics surrounding eating disorders, maybe we could convince Google to take action, using their platform to do good.
Because I had received and signed petitions on a variety of health and social issues from Change.org, and I had seen the numbers build, and positive outcomes accomplished, I came to believe that this was a project with real potential. It wouldn’t hurt to try!
After posting the petition for just a few days, over 2,000 people from around the world have signed on. I have met other parents who have lost children to eating disorders, and the activity on the petition has garnered the attention of news outlets, including the Huffington Post. My hope is that this kind of interest will inspire others to sign on, and we will convince Google to take action.
This June it will be ten years since Shelby died. My effort with this petition is in her memory.