People facing the myriad of eating disorders will have an opportunity to connect and gain insights from February 22nd to March 3rd.
Alberta Health Services and the Eating Disorder Support Network of Alberta (EDSNA) are partnering for the first Eating Disorders Symposium.
Angie Mellen Public Awareness Coordinator with EDSNA says eating disorders are complex, stemming from multiple issues and getting a diagnosis can be challenging with some people waiting several years to work out precisely what is affecting them.
“We hear from a lot of people that they don’t think they are sick enough. They don’t think they are doing something wrong enough to warrant getting treatment or help or support for that. So there is that stigma that goes along with it. That people think that they don’t fit in that certain body type, that they don’t deserve help. So that’s something we are actively trying to work on.”
Mellen says they are looking to raise awareness about eating disorders and to building connection so that people don’t feel they are alone.
“We want people to be aware of all the factors that contribute to eating disorders and how serious this mental illness can actually be. We are also looking to raise hope and gather a sense of connection and community with people.”
The support group points out that 2.7 million Canadians have an eating disorder. They add research at the University of Calgary shows during the first wave of the pandemic, monthly new cases of anorexia increased by more than 60 per cent and monthly hospitalization nearly tripled compared to pre-pandemic rates.
Participation in the virtual symposium is free and anyone can register by going to the EDSNA website. In the symposium guide, there are 27 links for 27 different sessions for interested persons to find the help they are seeking.
A referral guide for treatment options in Alberta can be found here. Psychology Today lists three therapists in the Lloydminster area specializing in eating disorders. Additional help can also be found by calling the Lloydminster Mental Health & Addictions services at 306-820-6250.