We are NOT OK!!! We are NOT DOING ENOUGH!!!

photo of compass pointing to "awareness"

The COVID Pandemic has forced all of us to embrace the concept of uncertainty. Like a child’s snow globe, we have been stirred and shaken, our mental health care system sent a flurry. We are far from settled.

We are not ok!!! We are not doing enough!!!

The unwelcome guest, Year Two of the COVID pandemic, is still hanging around. And for the many individuals challenged with an eating disorder diagnosis, treatment availability, relapse prevention stability, support, and continued care; they are struggling.

We are not ok!!! We are not doing enough!!!

Emergency hospitalization rates have increased.[1] Many Partial Hospitalization Programs (PHP) and Intensive Outpatient Programs (IOP) have gone virtual. Crucial checks and balances, and accountability for eating disorder behaviors provided in the clinical settings have disappeared behind a Zoom screen. “ED” thrives in isolation.

There are nonprofit organizations like ANAD, www.anad.org, that for 45 years have provided free support services to anyone, yes anyone struggling with an eating disorder, disordered eating, and body image. Calls to the ANAD helpline have increased upwards to over 45%. www.anad.org And all the while very destructive feelings of isolation, hopelessness, depression, anxiety, loneliness, and lack of supportive structures[2] have led to increased suicide ideation, visits to hospital emergency rooms, and in some cases death.[3]

We are not ok!!! We are not doing enough!!!

Our child’s snow globe has become a blizzard, a mental health “white-out.” We can’t predict the long-term ramifications of this mental health crisis yet. While studies are ongoing and statistics have yet to be quantified, we are slowly watching loved ones we care about struggle, some of whom are losing their will to live. I see it with my own daughter. If you are reading this, you may be seeing it with your loved one.

We are not ok!!! We are not doing enough!!!

Organizations like ANAD need us our support their continued work by partnering, donating, and volunteering. If you are reading this, you can be part of that voice of health reform regarding eating disorders.

We are not ok!!! We are not doing enough!!!

I am an eating disorder ANAD Peer Mentor and like all ANAD Peer Mentors have recovered from an eating disorder. Paired with one or two mentees, we serve as a community of support to help navigate feelings, triggers, and obstacles that might arise during recovery. Our work is all about hope.

When I shared, I was writing this blog entry, I asked for one word from mentors that best described for them their feelings regarding the pandemic and eating disorders. Some of their replies: Isolating, unpredictable, compassion, voice, and hope. While we are not ok, and we are not doing enough, organizations like ANAD, www.anad.org, support our community with hope and resources.

Please help us to make a difference in the lives of so many suffering from eating disorders.

We are Not Ok!!! We are Not Doing Enough!!!

We Need You!!!


[1] Asch DA, Buresh J, Allison KC, et al. Trends in US Patients Receiving Care for Eating Disorders and Other Common Behavioral Health Conditions Before and During the COVID-19 Pandemic. JAMA Netw Open. 2021;4(11):e2134913. doi:10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2021.34913

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