Watch a D-Talks podcast episode featuring a must-see conversation with an Eating Disorder lived-experience young adult.
D-Talks – a conversation about mental health and addiction is a podcast series by MPP Hon. Michael A. Tibollo (Vaughan—Woodbridge), Ontario’s Associate Minister of Mental Health and Addictions. In this 5th episode, Associate Minister Tibollo has a frank and meaningful conversation with Erin, an Eating Disorder lived-experience young adult.
#Equity4EatingDisorders Focus of 9th Annual Honouring the Journey
The National Initiative for Eating Disorders (NIED) will hold its 9th annual, and first virtual,Honouring the Journey with the them Voices of Hope, Tribute, Inspiration and Celebration to honour the tremendous journey – the triumphs and losses experienced by those challenged by Eating Disorders on WednesdayJune 2nd, 2021, as part of World Eating Disorders Action Day.
The ever-pressing issue of #Equity4Eating Disorders: equity for addressing all forms of Eating Disorders; equity in research and program funding; equity in access to treatment and recovery services; and equity for marginalized and under-represented groups will be the focus of a panel discussion. Moderating the panel discussion is André Picard, an award-winning journalist and one of Canada’s top health & public policy observers and commentators. He has been a part of The Globe and Mail team since 1987, where he is a health reporter and columnist.
Michelle Stewart, a former head of communications for the British Columbia Ministry of Health died in 2014 from organ failure as a result of her life-long battle with an Eating Disorder. In her final year of life, Michelle wrote Shell: One Woman’s Final Year After a Lifelong Struggle with Anorexia and Bulimia. Kirk Mason, Michelle’s partner and caregiver and Michelle’s sister, Karen Flello, will share their personal experiences and reflections with Michelle’s Eating Disorder struggles as the event keynote speakers. Karen and Kirk have dedicated themselves to sharing Michelle’s story, in hopes that her legacy can also help others challenged by this devastating illness. The first 100 people to register for Honouring the Journey 2021 will receive a free copy of Michelle’s memoir.
Following the keynote address, #Equity4Eating Disorders will be the focus of the panel discussion that will include Kirk Mason, as well as, Tierra Hohn, a public health professional from Toronto whose lived experience ignited her passion for advocacy and building awareness around Eating Disorders and body image, and Zachary Grant, a queer, trans, gender non-binary, social service worker, who works at Sheena’s Place with the first support group in the Greater Toronto Area, for trans, nonbinary, and gender questioning individuals with Eating Disorders.
World Eating Disorders Action Day is a day when more than 200 organizations world-wide from over 50 countries unites activists across the globe with the aim to expand global awareness of eating disorders as genetically linked, treatable illnesses that can affect anyone. It is a day that brings together members of the Eating Disorder community virtually, including affected individuals and their families, professionals, researchers, and policy makers, to increase access to accurate information, eradicate myths and collectively advocate for resources and policy change.
NIED is a non-profit organization that assists and supports people coping with the effects of Eating Disorders by providing access to educational, informational and other recovery-oriented resources related to the prevention and treatment of Eating Disorders and related mental illnesses in Canada.
Honouring the Journey 2021: Voices of Hope, Tribute, Inspiration and Celebration is organized by NIED in support of World Eating Disorders Action Day. Participation is FREE. To register, please visit xxxxxxx. To find out more about NIED, please visit www.nied.ca, and to learn more about World Eating Disorders Action Day and how you can participate, please visit http://www.worldeatingdisordersday.org.
For further information: Lynne Koss (she/her)
National Initiative for Eating Disorders – NIED www.nied.ca Twitter: @nied_ca
Karen Flello has been privileged to work as a public educator in Victoria, BC, for the past 30 years, beginning her career as a high-school English teacher and now serving as the principal of a K – 12 online Education school. Her love of learning translated into a lifetime in school – as a student, a teacher or an administrator, Karen has been present for 49 “first days of school” so far!
Karen’s connection to Eating Disorders began in her teens when her younger sister, Michelle, developed bulimia. In her role as Michelle’s supporter – and, many years later, as one of Michelle’s end-of-life care-givers – Karen experienced the complex emotions and life challenges that face many family members of ED sufferers and survivors. During those last days, Karen and Michelle’s husband, Kirk, committed to publishing Michelle’s blog into book form and to dedicating funds raised by the sale of the book to the ongoing pursuit of research, treatment and cures for these most devastating illnesses. They published the book Shell: A Memoir in 2015 with the help of Life Tree Media. Karen lives in Victoria with her husband, David, and their son, Andrew. Their son, Liam, and daughter-in-law, Amber, live close by.
Kirk Mason’s love affair with broadcasting began in childhood – his transistor radio a constant companion. That romance blossomed into a broadcasting career that spanned fifty years with stops in nine cities across Canada. Kirk was a member of the RTNDA (Radio and Television News Directors Association) for several years, and was the recipient of a BC Association of Broadcasters Award for Excellence in News Reporting.
Kirk’s sense of community led to many volunteer opportunities over the years. He assumed a leadership role with the United Way of Greater Victoria – a partnership that lasted more than twenty-five years. He is a committed supporter of Doctors Without Borders, the BC SPCA, Victoria Hospice, and NIED.
In 2015, he worked with his sister-in-law, Karen Flello and Life Tree Media in Vancouver to deliver on a
promise to his wife, Michelle Stewart, to publish her brave and insightful account of her decades-long struggle with Eating Disorders. Kirk lives in Victoria, B.C.
#Equity4Eating Disorders Panel:
Panel Moderator: André Picard is one of Canada’s top health & public policy observers and commentators. He has been a part of The Globe and Mail team since 1987, where he is a health reporter and columnist. He is also the author of five bestselling books. Picard is an eight-time nominee for the National Newspaper Awards, Canada’s top journalism prize, and past winner of the prestigious Michener Award for Meritorious Public Service Journalism.
He was named Canada’s first “Public Health Hero” by the Canadian Public Health Association, as a “Champion of Mental Health” by the Canadian Alliance on Mental Illness and Mental Health, and received the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal, for his dedication to improving healthcare.
A graduate of the University of Ottawa and Carleton University, André has received honorary doctorates from six universities, including UBC and the University of Toronto. He is a seasoned communicator who employs a conversational style to reach his audience. Additionally, he enlivens his research and commentary with personal stories to provide context for his audience. Fluently bilingual, André will enlighten and pique a sense of curiosity of audience members from all educational backgrounds. Behind the placid exterior lies an inquisitive, perceptive and industrious scribe for whom the work only begins with the official story.
The University of British Columbia recently announced André Picard as one of the Asper Visiting Professors at the School of Journalism, Writing, and Media for the 2020-2021 academic year, winter session. In 2020, Picard was awarded The Owen Adams Award of Honour. This award is the highest CMA award available to a non-physician.
Kirk Mason (see keynote speaker)
Tierra Hohn (she/her) is a public health professional from Toronto. She holds a Master of Public Health and a Bachelor of Public Affairs and Policy Management. Her lived experience ignited her passion for advocacy and building awareness around eating disorders and body image. Over the years she has run various workshops and facilitated discussions on such topics. The purpose of this being to create dialogue, educate and offer up tools and resources that can help others feel more comfortable in their own skin. Tierra is also a yoga teacher, author and avid learner.
Zachary Grant (they/them) is a queer, trans, gender non-binary, white, settler, activist, artist, nerd, social service worker, and academic. Zac currently works at Sheena’s Place, where they started the first support group in the Greater Toronto Area for trans, nonbinary, and gender questioning individuals with eating disorders. Zac is also a PhD student in the School of Social Work at York University, their research focuses on transgender healthcare and the experiences of trans individuals with ‘eating disorders’.
Join NIED in supporting the EDAW 2021 Brave Letters campaign to demand support for people affected by Eating Disorders.
Nearly 3 million Canadians meet the diagnostic criteria for an Eating Disorder, the deadliest of all mental illnesses, and thousands more struggle without a diagnosis. Eating Disorders do not discriminate. This devastating mental illness impacts people of all genders, ages, and circumstances, and has been amplified by the COVID-19 pandemic and the increased need in services due to isolation.
We need action now. The COVID-19 pandemic has introduced extraordinary challenges for not only people with Eating Disorders, but their family, friends, and the healthcare professionals who are struggling to serve them, given limited resources in our communities and nationally. Community-based treatment has been proven to lead to improved health outcomes. By reducing social isolation and the strain put on family/caregivers, reducing hospitalization, supporting sustainable recovery, and preventing Eating Disorders, community-based support saves lives.
With your help, we can change things. Send a letter to your local, provincial, and federal politicians. Speak up for the people who can’t advocate for themselves.
Since 1988, when NEDIC became the national coordinator for EDAW, they, along with other groups across the country, slowly started to officially recognize EDAW. Today, the Yukon, British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland & Labrador, and now Ontario have all proclaimed EDAW.
MPP Andrew, a long-time supporter of the National Eating Disorders Information Centre (NEDIC) and co-founder of Body Confidence Canada, an organization that advocates for equitable and inclusive images, messages, practices and policies supporting body diversity said, “EDAW will help bring attention to the diversity of people who experience Eating Disorders, including Black, and racialized women and girls, queer people, transgender people, disabled people and fat people.”
EDAW is a collective effort from coast-to-coast engaging organizations to host local events, light prominent landmarks in the colour purple, and participate in public education campaigns about Eating Disorders.
Building on EDAW’s previous year’s theme “Eating Disorders Can’t Afford to Wait”, this year’s primary message is “What Happened While We Waited?”. The week will literally and figuratively shine a light on the nuances of the current times — the negative and positive implications of the pandemic — while also holding space for those who have been waiting a very long time for the care they need and deserve.
NIED’s co-founder Wendy Preskow, and NEDIC’s program manager Suzanne Phillips both agree that the proclamation of EDAW every year in Ontario from February 1-7, was a fantastic moment for Eating Disorder advocacy in the province. “It felt like everybody’s hard work was recognized…and individuals who are impacted by Eating Disorders had what they rightfully deserve, which is recognition. It’s a first step, and I think it was a very necessary good first step to give us the energy to keep going.”
For a link to the full story on the proclamation, visit www.nied.ca. For further information about EDAW and a complete list of events, please visit www.nedic.ca. For information about NIED and the work it does on behalf of those challenged by Eating Disorders, please contact:
For further information, please contact: Lynne Koss Co-Founder/Vice President National Initiative for Eating Disorders – NIED www.nied.ca
Listen to CBC’s Ottawa Morning with Robyn Bresnahan segment on Eating Disorders and COVID, that aired January 20, 2021
The children’s hospital CHEO has seen a spike in youth with Eating Disorders since the pandemic began. Here, Robyn Bresnahan interviews Ottawa psychologist, Dr Shari Mayman, Co-Director, Anchor Psychological Services, about the connection between COVID and eating disorders.
NIED launches new educational programs to improve well-being and recovery from Eating Disorders
(Thursday, November 5, 2020) After extensive consultation and development, the National Initiative for Eating Disorders (NIED) is launching NIEDucation – three programs to improve people’s well-being and recovery from Eating Disorders. This announcement coincides with the one-year anniversary launch of the Canadian Eating Disorders Strategywhich outlined the importance and need for evidence-based educational programs to help meet persistent, unmet needs and overcome specific barriers identified by stakeholders. Given the lack of awareness about Eating Disorders and lack of high-quality training related to Eating Disorders in Canada, NIED’s new education programs aim to give primary care providers, caregivers and specialists practical skills, which are seldom taught formally but are associated with better experiences with care and stronger chances of recovery. NIEDucation provides learners with evidence-based and evidence-informed knowledge about how to collaborate and how to communicate.
NIEDucation programs support one or more primary audiences (i.e. people at risk / people with Eating Disorders; caregivers of people with Eating Disorders; primary care providers and Eating Disorders specialists; and/or professionals and providers involved in care, support and recovery related to Eating Disorders. NIEDucation programs include NIED Communication, NIED Collaborationand NiED Connections, all of which will be disseminated first as informational resources, and eventually, as online courses on www.eatingdisordersu.org. Also, starting in 2021, NIED will begin development of a 4th program, NIED Quality – to identify and outline the standards that must exist in Canada’s health and social services systems specifically aimed at supporting recovery from Eating Disorders. NIED Quality will create Canada’s first set of quality dimensions, discussed and refined by stakeholders.
Many resources and standards explain ‘what to do’ to support better communication or collaboration in care, but few, if any, resources clearly explain ‘how to effectively implement these standards’ in different settings, with different people and in different situations. NIEDucation programs are hoping to rectify this situation. Learning how to apply various communication collaboration and connections skills during very different, individual recovery journeys takes patience, good training and adaptability.
For more information about NIED and NIEDucation, please visit www.nied.ca.
NIED is delighted to announce the appointment of Ms. Michelle D’Amico as NIED’s new Executive Director.
Michelle will serve as the executive advisor to the President and co-founders of NIED. She will be responsible for co-developing and overseeing the management and implementation of NIED’s Strategic Plan. She will also provide vision, expertise and the leadership needed to strengthen NIED’s engagement with stakeholders across Canada.
NIED launches two exciting initiatives to coincide with the 4th annual World Eating Disorders Action Day, Tuesday, June 2nd, 2020
(Monday, June 1, 2020) – #ShareYourStory presents an opportunity to share personal stories of those with lived experience with Eating Disorders. The National Initiative for Eating Disorders (NIED) has created “how to” guidelines to help you share your story. We want to hear stories from anyone and everyone touched by Eating Disorders including caregivers, loved ones, individuals with Eating Disorders and healthcare professionals. Because “Eating Disorders Can’t Afford to Wait”, we hope your stories will inspire meaningful conversations and a deeper understanding of Eating Disorders – the deadliest of all mental illnesses.
On June 2nd, NIED will also launch the NIED Blog, written by Hilary Thomson, a writer and journalist who is currently in recovery after struggling with anorexia for 15 years. The blog is another action to further NIED’s mission to provide useful recovery tips, interviews with people with Eating Disorders from diverse backgrounds, knowledgeable Eating Disorder treatment professionals and advocates. Most importantly, the blog offers the opportunity to interact with readers by encouraging questions, sharing ideas and providing constructive feedback.
NIED is the voice for Canadian families, caregivers, and individuals who are affected by Eating Disorders and other co-morbid and concurrent diagnoses. NIED helps caregivers, patients, and practitioners fill gaps in care through education and by highlighting better practices in prevention, health promotion, and treatment.