Join NIED in supporting the EDAW 2021 Brave Letters campaign

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.

Join NIED in supporting the EDAW 2021 Brave Letters campaign2021-02-01T16:52:11-05:00

Bill 61 passes proclaiming Eating Disorders Awareness Week (EDAW)

Bill 61 passes proclaiming Eating Disorders Awareness Week (EDAW) in Ontario first week of February

In 2018, when Jill Andrew, MPP for Toronto-St. Paul’s first championed Bill 61, to get Eating Disorders Awareness Week (EDAW) proclaimed officially in Ontario, it didn’t make it through the house. Thanks to her tenacity, and over many years, that of the co-founders of National Initiative for Eating Disorders (NIED)Bulimia Anorexia Nervosa Association (BANA) and the National Eating Disorder Information Centre (NEDIC), Bill 61 passed unanimously on December 3, 2020, proclaiming Eating Disorders Awareness Week in Ontario February 1st – 7th.

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 For further information about EDAW and a complete list of events,  please visit 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
Twitter: @nied_ca

Read BANA’s online magazine honouring EDAW 2021

Bill 61 passes proclaiming Eating Disorders Awareness Week (EDAW)2021-02-01T16:57:11-05:00

Listen to CBC’s Ottawa Morning with Robyn Bresnahan segment on Eating Disorders and COVID, that aired January 20, 2021

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.

Listen now

Listen to CBC’s Ottawa Morning with Robyn Bresnahan segment on Eating Disorders and COVID, that aired January 20, 20212021-01-26T12:17:29-05:00

NIED Press Release

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 Strategy which 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 Collaboration and NiED Connectionsall of which will be disseminated first as informational resources, and eventually, as online courses on  
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


For further information, contact:  

For further information, please contact:

Lynne Koss (she/her)
Co-Founder/Vice President
National Initiative for Eating Disorders – NIED
Twitter: @nied_ca
Instagram:  @nied_ca
416 843-3496
NIED Press Release2020-11-11T09:43:15-05:00

NIED’s new Executive Director

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.

Announcement letter from NIED’s Chairman

NIED’s new Executive Director2020-10-14T10:55:00-04:00

NIED launches two exciting initiatives

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.

NIED launches two exciting initiatives2020-06-02T10:15:13-04:00

Body Peace Virtual Conference

Early registration open for first-ever three-day virtual conference on Body Image and Eating Disorders

(July 3, 2019 – Toronto) Non-profit organizations Body Brave and the National Initiative for Eating Disorders (NIED) have teamed up to present Body Peace 2019 – a first-of-its kind body image and eating disorders virtual conference taking place from October 4 to 6 this year. The theme for this year’s conference is Lived Experience is Evidence Too. Early bird registration for the conference is NOW open until July 30.

The Body Peace 2019 conference, hosted on the virtual platform Zoom, is designed to challenge barriers, embolden conversation, and equip people with the tools needed to create lasting change in their lives.

The conference will feature accredited training sessions for healthcare professionals including dietitians, family physicians and social workers, panel discussions, keynote speakers, live chats and much more. The three areas of primary focus are innovation, representation, and collaboration. The Innovation segment will highlight innovative clinical and non-clinical approaches, fresh ideas, and new perspectives in the realm of body image and disordered eating. The Representation module will feature the powerful and diverse voices of those with lived experience, caregivers, and clinicians. Day three will focus on Collaboration and the myriad ways we can all collaborate to break down stigma and promote empowering approaches to healing. Many topics will be discussed over the three days that range from “Eating Disorders and sexuality”, “treatment for adults”, disabilities and Eating Disorders”, “trauma and shame” and “Eating Disorder hell to recovered and well”.

Body Peace is a non-profit conference. All proceeds from ticket sales go directly to meeting conference costs and to supporting those struggling with eating disorders through the work of Body Brave and NIED.

All tickets give participants access to live and pre-recorded sessions from Oct 4-6. Once you register, you will receive a link with all the information about how to access the conference and reminder emails. To register for Body Peace conference and for more info and prices, please visit

Body Brave’s mission is to plan and deliver innovative local and national services that address the major gaps in resources for eating disorders, in collaboration with those with lived experience and our community partners. Body Brave also works to create a bold national recovery-focused, inclusive community, committed to body liberation as well as raising awareness and reducing stigma around disordered eating and/or eating disorders.

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.

For more information, contact:

Lynne Koss (she/her)
Co-Founder/Vice President
National Initiative for Eating Disorders – NIED
Twitter: @nied_ca
416 843-3496

Erin Huston
Body Peace Conference Coordinator
Body Brave
Live Brave Live Full Live Wise

Download Press Release

Body Peace Virtual Conference2019-08-27T10:01:36-04:00

Wendy Preskow: Educating About Eating Disorders – CJN Article

Susan Minuk speaks with Wendy Preskow about the National Initiative for Eating Disorders.

Wendy Preskow: Educating about Eating Disorders.

Of all the mental illnesses, the medical world recognizes eating disorders as the most deadly. Yet in our society, eating disorders are largely misunderstood. Wendy Preskow is the voice for Canadian families, caregivers and individuals who have been affected by eating disorders. Preskow spoke to The CJN about the National Initiative For Eating Disorders (NIED), the organization that she co-founded in 2012.

What was the impetus for creating the National Initiative For Eating Disorders?

I have a sick daughter, Amy, who has been suffering for two decades from anorexia and bulimia. Imagine someone with a chronological age of 34 with incredible potential, but with a seven year old’s lack of social and emotional independence and the osteoporosis of a senior. In high school, Amy would ask herself, “Who am I?” There was never abuse or trauma. She was never an overweight child. But she always felt she was never enough.

We found there were a lack of resources and an incredible lack of awareness and understanding that an eating disorder is a mental illness. What we came to realize was how many thousands and thousands of other families there are across the country in the same or worse situations than us. I could not just sit back. I had to take action.

For the very first time in the eating disorders landscape in Canada, NIED was the catalyst to bring multiple stakeholders together in Winnipeg in September 2016. Four Canadian national organizations united to formulate a national eating disorder strategy, which will include six pillars: treatment, training, education, prevention, caregivers and research. This strategy will be launched later this year.

An estimated one million Canadians are struggling with eating disorders. Please explain what an eating disorder is.

There are different types of eating disorders and the most common disorders that people hear about are: anorexia nervosa (starving); bulimia (binging and purging); and binge eating (constant eating). From our daughter’s perspective, anorexia is all about control. Something in her life that she found she could have control over was food. Food is actually a symptom of the disease. All of these disorders are deep psychological and psychiatric illness, in which the food is a symptom of the disease. It manifests in what they do with food – whether they starve, or whether they binge. The binging and the purging is more about wanting to numb the emotions because they get a high from the purging. It’s been said that it’s the same kind of high that somebody would get using cocaine.

Who is at risk of developing an eating disorder?

Anybody can be at risk. The doctors say that 80 per cent is genetics, which loads the gun, and 20 per cent is the environment, which pulls the trigger. If you are predisposed, you can end up being a drug addict or abusing alcohol, or end up with an eating disorder. As Jews, we take care of others who are struggling and cannot help themselves, and who certainly do not choose to live this way.

Statistics indicate that one in 10 people suffering from an eating disorder will die. What are the health consequences of an eating disorder?

Eating disorders are serious mental illnesses associated with significant medical complications that affect every organ of the body. My daughter has osteoporosis in her spine, because of the starving and lack of nutrition. Amy’s iron levels, growth, menstrual cycles and electrolytes are out of balance. There have been frequent visits to the emergency room for fainting.

What is the treatment for eating disorders?

If people are medically unstable, they need to be hospitalized. Once they are medically stable, there are different methods therapists will use, such as dialectical behavioural therapy and family based therapy. There are only 20 residential beds in all of Ontario for anyone over the age of 18. There is no funded residential treatment
centres for adults like there are in the United States, the U.K. and Australia. The goal is to nourish the person so the brain can start functioning again, but it becomes a revolving door, because there are not enough resources to work on an individual basis. Once they are medically stabilized, they need a place to get well and to heal – ideally a residential government-funded, community-based program.

What does recovery look like?

Recovery means so many different things to so many different people. Our daughter has been sick for too long, so for her to be completely free of her eating disorder for the rest of her life, I don’t think will happen. Recovery would mean to be a functional citizen and to be able to be part of society and be included in society, and for her to feel that she can cope in society.  Eating disorders often come with depression, anxiety, ADHD and OCD issues. It’s hard to say whether the anxiety came first or the eating disorder.

How important is education, not only for the patient, but the entire family?

The caregivers need help. It’s such a complex, long and lonely illness. NIED has hosted 67 free symposia for the public to attend. They are intended to help families, friends and loved ones understand what they are dealing with and educate those affected by eating disorders. It’s an illness of the brain and families just don’t know which way to turn.

How accessible is it for Canadians suffering from eating disorders to receive timely, comprehensive and specialized treatment?

The provincial costs associated with patients who have anorexia nervosa and are on long-term disability may be as high as $101.7 million a year – 30 times the cost of all provincial specialized eating disorder services. Too many Canadians suffering from eating disorders do not have reasonable access to timely, comprehensive and specialized treatment. There are waiting lists for assessments. If and when they eventually get into treatment, they often have to wait at least four to six months to actually start treatment. If your child is in danger and he or she won’t go to emergency, then you should phone the police.

This interview has been edited and condensed for style and clarity

Wendy Preskow: Educating About Eating Disorders – CJN Article2019-07-03T14:01:12-04:00

NIED Press Release

The National Initiative for Eating Disorders Propels ‘Can’t Afford to Wait’ Message with Generous Donation for Cutting-Edge e-Learning Platform

(May 28, 2019 – Toronto, Ontario) – The message at this year’s fourth annual World Eating Disorders Action Day on June 2nd is, “Eating Disorders Can’t Afford to Wait,” and the National Initiative for Eating Disorders (NIED) is taking-action now.

To show their support, NIED, a not-for-profit organization has gifted a generous $15,000.00 donation to drive the development of an innovative national e-learning platform aimed at addressing the gaps in the Eating Disorders field. The donation will fund the identification and adaption of existing evidence-based research related to low-intensity, rapid early treatment of Eating Disorders into online education resources aimed at caregivers, primary care providers and individuals recovering from Eating Disorders.

Sonia Kumar-Sequin, Executive Director of Body Brave, a non-profit that offers community treatment and support for those struggling with body image, disordered eating and eating disorders states: “Using technology and innovation, we can drive systemic change in the Eating Disorder world. Virtual approaches, both in healthcare and education spaces, are changing the way our world works. Why shouldn’t we adopt these technologies to change the way Eating Disorders are approached? The time has come for pioneering action. Eating Disorders can’t afford to wait.”

“We all want to have a positive impact,” says Academy for Eating Disorders (AED) president, S. Bryn Austin, “but one of the biggest set of hurdles we face as a community is that, because of myriad problems with healthcare delivery systems around the globe, the majority of people with Eating Disorders — or mental health conditions of any type, for that matter — do not get diagnosed or receive treatment.” AED is a global professional association committed to leadership in eating disorders research, education, treatment, and prevention.

The intent of the donation is to fulfill this need for immediate and accessible training for healthcare professionals and resources for those struggling and their caregivers. In 2014, 70% of doctors reported to receiving five hours or less of Eating Disorder specific training in medical school. Currently, Eating Disorders have the highest mortality rate of all mental illness and the incidence of children with eating disorders is rising at an alarming rate.

The development of the e-learning platform is a collaborative project made up of key stakeholders. In addition to NIED, Body Brave, two community-based organizations (Eating Disorders Nova Scotia and Bridgepoint Centre for Eating Disorders Saskatchewan), a treatment program in Ontario, researchers from Hamilton and Niagara, have pledged their support through commitments to provide content and promote the e-learning platform within their networks.

In the lead up to the release of the e-learning platform, NIED, in collaboration with Body Brave, will be hosting the first-ever virtual Body Image and Eating Disorders Conference, Body Peace, from October 4-6, 2019. The conference will feature presentations from Eating Disorders survivors and professionals. Attendees will also be given the opportunity to preview components of the e-learning platform, such as the “caregiver classroom”. Join over 250 organizations in showing support on World Eating Disorders Action Day. Use social media to engage with us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram on June 2nd by using the hashtags: #ShowUsYourPurple, #WorldEatingDisordersActionDay, #EatingDisordersCantAffordtoWait and #WeDoActNow2019. Wear purple to show your support, attend workshops and advocate openly for education and treatment.

The National Initiative for Eating Disorders is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to filling the gaps in Eating Disorders care through education. NIED works with caregivers, healthcare professionals and social services to highlight best practices in prevention, health promotion and treatment. To learn more about NIED and Eating Disorders in Canada, visit:


Lynne Koss (she/her)
Co-Founder/Vice President National Initiative for Eating Disorders
Twitter: @nied_ca
416 843-3496

Download this Press Release

NIED Press Release2020-11-11T09:40:44-05:00
Go to Top