Putting their purple on, in support of Provincial Eating Disorders Awareness Week

Love our bodies, love ourselves

Raising awareness, and providing support to Eating Disorder Program clients throughout the Region

The VCH Eating Disorder Program just wrapped up another inspirational celebration of Provincial Eating Disorders Awareness Week (PEDAW).

The annual PEDAW campaign, “love our bodies, love ourselves,” is held February 1st through 7th with additional activities and events taking place throughout the year. The province-wide effort is made possible by Jessie’s Legacy Eating Disorders Prevention & Awareness Program, and raises awareness around prevention and early intervention of eating disorders as well as media literacy, resiliency, building healthy body image and self-esteem.

Eating disorders can affect both females and males, from childhood through to retirement years, in both urban and rural areas. The VCH Eating Disorder Program has recently increased their Telehealth support for rural clients in the Coastal Region, thanks to a donation of the Telehealth equipment by a North Shore family.

Telehealth is used to connect with clients in rural areas for assessments, nutritional therapy, clinical appointments and more recently, psychoeducational group participation. This allows the clients to not only receive clinical services in rural areas but also receive the full benefits that group therapy provides. Prior to the Telehealth donation, rural clients faced long commute times to attend program, or were unable to participate at all.

“We currently have a client from Powell River attending our 10-week, introductory group Fundamentals, which is a mandatory program for new clients. We had never had a client participate in one of our treatment groups by Telehealth, but it’s turned out to be a wonderful experience for her,” says Anne Merrett-Hiley, VCH Eating Disorders Program Coordinator.

This positive client experience in a group program paves the way to extend more group programming to clients living in rural and remote areas. Telehealth has provided a real gift to the Eating Disorders program through individual counselling and support, and will now benefit group program clients, along with the other participants and the staff.

“The client reported feeling very engaged and included in the group process, as if she was seated at the end of the table. The other participants welcomed her, even including her in the general chit-chat that happens prior to start of group,” says Merrett-Hiley.

Throughout the year, the VCH Eating Disorder Program team asks that we all support the ongoing “love our bodies, love ourselves” movement in promoting health and preventing disordered eating and eating disorders. All VCH staff can take an active role to support the launch of this movement and start some meaningful and engaging discussions, as well as activities in your community, with your family or at your workplace.

From more information and events around the city visit http://jessieslegacy.com/love-our-bodies-love-ourselves/

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