June 2, 2021, noon
Today, World Eating Disorders Action Day (WEDAD), NEDIC is uniting for the first time with leading international network Butterfly Foundation, Australia, Beat Eating Disorders UK (BEAT), and the National Eating Disorders Association in the United States (NEDA), to raise much needed awareness for equity of access to support and services for people with eating disorders.
Globally, COVID19 has seen a significant need for support for those with eating disorders including telephone calls to helplines, webchats, social media direct message and online support groups. As a collective, the strain on national helplines peaked in 2020 with increases of up to 195% in the United Kingdom, 67% in Canada, 35 % in Australia, and 57% increase in the United States.
Over the year since pandemic lockdowns began, and even with reduced hours, we have seen an increase of over 70% in volume. The demand for instant chat has exploded, and we saw an increase of over 100% over the previous year. We provided 136% more hours of chat support than we had in the previous fiscal – a total of 7025 hours. It is clear to us that our clients are struggling.
WEDAD is an internationally renowned annual grassroots movement that is designed by and for people affected with an eating disorder, their families and the medical and professional health community who support them. This year, the focus of the movement is on equity – equity for addressing all forms of eating disorders, equity of research funding, equity of access to treatment and recovery; and equity of support and services for marginalised or under-represented groups in our society.
“COVID has shone a spotlight on mental health. The demand we have seen over the past year has demonstrated that many people are being under-served by the current system of eating disorder care. Equity for eating disorders means working together with our colleagues across the country and across the world to address gaps and ensure that services are meeting the needs of individuals living with eating disorders. NEDIC is here to offer system navigation to individuals who wish to access services, and to support those who are struggling to access appropriate care,” says Suzanne Phillips, NEDIC’s Program Manager.