COVID-19 + ED: FAQs

The Toronto Foundation compiled this brief to discuss the impact of COVID-19 on mental health generally. 
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We are here for you on the phone and through chat to offer support, information, resources, and referrals. 



NEDIC has teamed up with Canadian eating disorder experts to offer some of their preferred coping tools for the stress of the ongoing pandemic. Watch the ongoing video series!

This information is current as of August 9, 2022.  Information is changing rapidly, and this page will be updated periodically, so please check back. 

FAQs

Support-Related

Health Effects of COVID-19

Vaccines

Caring for Yourself or a Loved One after COVID-19 Exposure

Food-Related

Provincial and Territorial Responses

Finance-Related

Travel-Related

  • Support-Related

    • Are there online events or webinars? 

      Yes! A number of clinicians and organizations are running webinars or online education sessions.

      • Eating Disorders Nova Scotia is presenting Exploring Movement on August 15 and Eating Disorders in Midlife on August 22.
      • Body Brave is presenting a monthly series of free recovery sessions and workshops on Thursdays, open to anyone ages 17+ in Canada.  View the schedule and topics that will be covered here.

    • My programming has been suspended -- are there any supports that I can access from home?

      There are several online groups and programming that you may find useful during this time. Information about eligibility is available on their websites.

      • Body Brave:  information about current program offerings here. Please note that while group support sessions are open to anyone in Canada, treatment groups are limited to Ontario residents.
      • BridgePoint Center for Eating Disorder Recovery:  find out more about the recovery support helpline open on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and about how to receive supportive and encouraging text messages here.
      • Danielle's Place:  group programs available for parents/caregivers and youth 
        1.  parent/caregiver support group meets twice a month.
        2.  virtual spring offering for youth is SibShop (age 8-17 with a sibling affected with an eating disorder).
      • Eating Disorders Support Network of Alberta:  online support groups using Zoom. Registration fees may be reduced if they are a barrier to participating - contact to discuss.
        1.  Drop-in support group for caregivers is ongoing. The registration fee for each session is $10.
        2.  Support group for adults (18+) living with an eating disorder/disordered eating which begins Wednesday August 31. The registration fee is $70 for the 7-week program. 
        3.  Support group for women over 40 living with an eating disorder/disordered eating which begins Wednesday September 14. The registration fee is $80 for the 7-week program.

      • Eating Disorders Nova Scotia:  online peer support groups, including a new 2-Spirit, Trans+, and Non-Binary group, individual mentoring, and monthly friends/family support groups
      • Hopewell:  runs online support groups for individuals ages 17+ living in Eastern Ontario. Registration for Spring 2022 groups is open; view the offerings here.
      • Looking Glass BC:  online peer support chat groups are available every day of the week except for Saturday, with multiple meetings on Tuesday and Thursday, and a new binge eating-specific peer support chat group meets on the first and third Wednesday of the month.
      • Silver Linings Foundation:  online support groups accessible anywhere from Canada. Registration fees may be reduced if they are a barrier to participating - contact to discuss.
        1.   Adult support group (18+) which begins Tuesday August 30. The registration fee is $150 for the 8-week program. . Details here.  
        2.  Adolescent support group (ages 14-17) which begins Wednesday September 15. Parent/caregiver consent is required. The registration fee is $80 for the 4-week program. Details here.  
        3.  Adult binge eating disorder support group (18+) which begins Monday September 12. The registration fee is $150 for the 8-week program. Details here
        4.  Adult body image support group (18+) which begins Wednesday September 28. The registration fee is $120 for the 6-week program. Details here.

      • Sheena's Place:  Groups open to Ontario residents only. Registration for Spring 2022 programs is open; view the program calendar here. Register for all programs here. Spaces are limited.
      • The Instagram account eatcakepod hosts Snack Time and Chill for individuals seeking eating support Thursdays at 3:00 p.m. PST.
      • The Instagram account covid19eatingsupport was a collective effort to offer HAES-based community mealtime support to individuals living with eating disorders. While live support is no longer being offered, many recorded sessions are available for viewing.

    • I find myself struggling more with my recovery during isolation. What can I do to distract myself?

      You may find some of these tools, activities, apps and workbooks to be useful in helping to manage anxiety:

    • My regular coping skills/strategies do not seem to be working -- what else can I try?

      • Journaling - it may be helpful to write down your thoughts and feelings. Sometimes it is enough just to get them out of your head and onto paper. It could make it easier to organize those thoughts and feelings and keep track of any changes.
      • Drawing - art can be a positive way to distract thinking or express moods and feelings. You can also try other forms of art like origami.
      • Mechanical Eating - it could be helpful to try shifting your mind's focus to get through your meal. So, instead of focusing on the meal itself, you concentrate on the actual process of eating, which is called mechanical eating. For example, it would mean focusing on lifting the utensil, putting it into your mouth, chewing, swallowing, and then repeating until you have finished the meal.
      • Mindfulness - practicing mindfulness can be very helpful. Tune into your senses and be in the moment -- smell the scents in the room, listen to the birds outside, look at a beautiful picture on the wall, focus on your breathing, etc. Many different apps are available to guide you.
      • Talking - if you feel comfortable doing so, it may be helpful to talk and/or ask for support from your family or friends, when you find yourself struggling more.
      • Walking - you may find going for a little walk outside to be good for your mental health. Some people find getting some fresh air and taking in the beauty of nature to be a good distraction.
      • Disconnect - at a certain point, it may be unhelpful to continue following the news closely. Mindlessly scrolling through social media can reinforce negative feelings. Make sure to take breaks, and try to limit your time online if you feel that it is a problem for you. Look at news from reputable sources.
      • Recovery Apps - recovery apps can be useful tools -- they can be used to keep track of your thoughts/emotions/behaviours and they offer suggestions for coping strategies and skills to practice. Two examples of apps for people with eating disorders are:


    • Social distancing is making recovery extra difficult -- what can I do?

      If you’re feeling alone or isolated-- reading about other’s experiences and advice may help you feel more connected in your recovery journey. 

      From the NEDIC website and blog: 

      From NEDIC partners:

    • I am having a lot of anxiety or am feeling overwhelmed by the current situation. What can I do?

      • Being informed is important, but it is equally important you take breaks from the news and social media. Try limiting how much time you spend on social media and news or even talking about COVID-19. This is a comprehensive guide to mental health during COVID-19.
      • CAMH also has a few different resources on how to deal with stress and anxiety, and supporting others and talking to children about COVID-19.
      • NEDIC has a YouTube series in partnership with eating disorder clinicians. The series offers a variety of coping tools from different clinical perspectives. 

    • If I am having a moment of crisis, who can I reach out to?

      The wonderful individuals at each of these services would be happy to help support you:


    • I am the parent/caregiver of someone living with an eating disorder. What help is available to me? 

      Our friends at FEAST are a global support and information network for parents/caregivers of children with eating disorders. You can access their COVID-19 resources here

      NIED also does a lot of work with families in Canada. 

    • The program I was referred to closed due to COVID-19. Do you have any news about its current status? 

      Many programs closed when the pandemic started. While some were able to transition quickly from delivering care in-person to providing services by telephone or virtually, their operational capacity was reduced. Programs across the country are working through backlogs of referrals. As the pandemic continues, and COVID-19 cases are increasing again in some regions, programs are having to juggle their backlogs and new referrals. Waitlists are unfortunately lengthy. For information about the status of a specific program, please contact that program directly. 

  • Health Effects of COVID-19

  • Vaccines

    • What about the vaccine? 

      At this stage, we are not aware of any research specifically into the experiences of people who have an eating disorder and receive the vaccine. We hope that more information will be available soon. 

      This article discusses some safety considerations for practitioners whose clients have an eating disorder. 

      Our colleagues at BEAT in the UK have released this statement in support of vaccine prioritization for individuals who have an eating disorder. 

  • Caring for Yourself or a Loved One after COVID-19 Exposure

  • Food-Related

  • Provincial and Territorial Responses

  • Finance-Related

    • Where can I apply to receive financial support?

      This document discusses possible ways to receive support: Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan - financial support for Canadians and businesses. An update on the new Canada Recovery Benefit is available here

    • Are Canadians with an Eating Disorder and their caregivers eligible to take advantage of special programs from the Government of Canada?

      You can find relevant information on these websites:

      • Disability Tax Credit: the disability tax credit (DTC) is a non-refundable tax credit that helps people with disabilities or their caregivers reduce the amount of income tax they may have to pay. For more information, click here.
      • Registered Disability Savings Plan: the Registered Disability Savings Plan (RDSP) is a long-term savings plan to help Canadians with disabilities and their families save for the future. For more information, click here.
  • Travel-Related

    • What are the current Canadian travel advisories and restrictions related to COVID-19?

      The Public Health Agency of Canada is advising travellers, regardless of their vaccination status, to avoid non-essential travel internationally. Check the Government of Canada website for information and updates:  https://travel.gc.ca



      For specific advice and rules pertaining to travel to, from, and within Canada, see: https://travel.gc.ca/travel-covid

    • What is available for those who need assistance to travel back to Canada?

      To get the latest updates on the situation at your destinationhttps://travel.gc.ca/travelling/registration


      Canadian abroad directly impacted by COVID-19 will have the option of applying for an emergency loan of up to $5,000 to help secure their timely return to Canada and to temporarily cover their life-sustaining needs while they work toward their return, contact: CAN.finances.CV19@international.gc.ca


      For all other consular emergencies, Canadians can contact the nearest Government of Canada office or Global Affairs Canada’s 24/7 Emergency Watch and Response Centre in Ottawa at +1 613-996-8885 (collect calls are accepted where available) or email sos@international.gc.ca

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