VICTORIA, BC (February 1, 2023) – In support of Eating Disorders Awareness Week, Vancouver Island Voices for Eating Disorders (VIVED) will be hosting awareness and advocacy activities, culminating in a public demonstration at the Legislature on February 7th from 12-1:30 PM PST.
Eating Disorders Awareness Week is a nationally-recognized week bringing attention to the devastating effects of eating disorders and the change needed to support those who are struggling. Eating disorders affect an estimated one million Canadians, with effects rippling out to their family members and loved ones.
This year, VIVED is calling for critical action to help the rising numbers of adults living with eating disorders and concurrent mental illness on Vancouver Island. Access to services is highly limited and inaccessible, with cutbacks and staffing shortages exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“At CMHA BC, we focus on raising awareness for various initiatives that call for improving mental and physical healthcare services. We recognize the critical importance of the calls to action issued by Vancouver Island Voices for Eating Disorders. We support people affected by eating disorders and concurrent mental illness and we are committed to play a role in the change that is needed. Without the improvement of services, individuals and families will continue to face the difficult and sometimes devastating impact that inadequate access can have,” says Jonny Morris, CEO, Canadian Mental Health Association, BC Division.
Eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of any psychiatric illness second only to opioid addiction. Many people with eating disorders die by suicide, while others succumb to medical complications.
“People who are living with this terrible disorder have the solutions that our government needs to deploy in order to support [them],” says Adam Olsen, MLA for Saanich North and the Islands. “Clearly there is enough information out there to develop services that serve the public and people who need them.”
VIVED is calling on all levels of government to establish timely care for all populations, at every level of need. This includes low-barrier, stigma-free treatment options for marginalized populations. VIVED recommends that the best way to create accessible and effective programming is for governments and service providers to work with people who have eating disorders—letting these groups take the lead on determining what is needed, from
program development, to implementation, to evaluation.
Show your support for National Eating Disorders Awareness Week February 1st through February 7th. For more details on how to participate, see VIVED’s website or social media:
Shaely Ritchey, Co-founder of Vancouver Island Voices for Eating Disorders
Phone number: 250-896-5652
Email address: firstname.lastname@example.org