Nine provinces and territories hosting 35 events across Canada for Eating Disorder Awareness Week.

Toronto, Ontario –January 30, 2019 – With an estimated one million Canadians struggling with Eating Disorders, we simply can’t afford to wait in advancing awareness and treatment for Eating Disorders in Canada. Eating Disorders Awareness Week (EDAW), runs annually February 1-7. EDAW urges Canadians to raise awareness of the causes, prevalence and impact of Eating Disorders.

The staggering statistics surrounding this mental illness clearly reflect such need and urgency. One in ten people suffering with an Eating Disorder will die. One in five teenagers are dieting at any given time, increasing the risk of developing an Eating Disorder. Eating Disorders in Canadian children are estimated to be two to four times greater than the incidence of Type 2 Diabetes in such children. Eating Disorders do not discriminate – they can develop in all genders, ages, racial and ethnic identities, sexual orientations and socio-economic backgrounds.

The National Initiative for Eating Disorders (NIED), National Eating Disorder Information Centre (NEDIC), the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA), Looking Glass Foundation, and Body Brave have joined forces to develop this year’s campaign: Eating Disorders can’t afford to wait. With millions of Canadians experiencing the devastating impact of Eating Disorders, the funding and treatment of Eating Disorders can no longer be put on hold

To date, EDAW has been proclaimed in seven provinces, supported by 60+ municipal proclamations. There are over 35 individual events, programs, special ceremonies and discussions taking place in nine provinces and territories. This is all being done to generate greater awareness about the severity and continued escalation of people being affected by Eating Disorders.

EDAW will help affirm the experiences of those affected by an Eating Disorder. The week aims to educate the public about the impact of Eating Disorders, dispel the myths and stigmas associated with them and illuminate the tremendous gaps in funding and services. The ultimate goal is to motivate decision makers in positions of influence to provide, among other things, better and more affordable prevention and treatment options, enhanced training for professionals and greater support for caregivers.

To engage in our #ShowUsYourPurple social media campaign and for a complete listing of events taking place across the country, please visit the EDAW website at

Join us February 1 through to February 7th to help shine a light on this debilitating mental illness. Those suffering, and their families, need your support. Please consider donating to one or more of the participating organizations. Your support can make a difference to many lives. We can do better. We must do better.

About the partners behind the Eating Disorders Awareness Week campaign:

National Initiative for 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.

National Eating Disorder Information Centre (NEDIC) operates Canada’s only national Toll-Free Helpline and Instant Chat services providing information on treatment option and/or support to people across Canada either directly or indirectly affected by disordered eating and related concerns.

Founded in 1918, the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) is the most established, most extensive community mental health organization in Canada. Through a presence in more than 330 communities across every province, CMHA provides advocacy, programs and resources that help to prevent mental health problems and illnesses, support recovery and resilience, and enable all Canadians to flourish and thrive.

For more information, visit

Looking Glass Foundation’s programs and services decrease isolation, instill hope, and sustain recovery for individuals across British Columbia who are impacted by eating disorders:

Body Brave delivers 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.

For more information, please contact:

Lynne Koss
Co-Founder, NIED
(416) 843-3496

Ary Maharaj
Outreach & Education Coordinator, NEDIC

Madame Sophie Grégoire Trudeau’s special video message to attendees of NIED’s Eating Disorders Awareness Week 2018 event on the Hill. Once again, we thank Madame Grégoire Trudeau for her heartfelt and inspiring support.

On February 6, 2018members of the NIED team attended an event in the Speakers’ Lounge on the Hill to inform, educate and acknowledge Feb 1-7 as Eating Disorders Awareness Week in Canada. The event was hosted by NIED, Deputy Speaker Carol Hughes, MP Michael Levitt, MP Marilyn Gladu and Senator Nancy Greene-Raine. The Speaker of the House of Commons, Geoff Regan, shown here with Alex Macri and Lynne Koss from NIED, graciously opened the Speakers’ Lounge to NIED for the event.

NIED was thrilled to have the following organizations join us:
Hopewell Eating Disorder Centre Ottawa, Alyssa Stevenson Eating Disorder Trust of Manitoba, Health Canada, Mental Health Commission of Canada, Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario, The Royal Ottawa, Public Health Ottawa, University Health Network of Toronto, Public Health Agency of Canada, Canadian Mental Health Association, Canadian Association of Social Workers, Canadian Alliance for Mental Illness and Mental Health, Emily Murphy Non Profit Housing Corporation, Ontario Centre of Excellence for Child and Youth Mental Health, and the Youth Services Bureau.

Thank you all for making our 15th visit to the Hill so special, inspiring and memorable!

On November 28, 2017, at the CAMH Difference Makers (Ontario honourees) event, NIED founder Wendy Preskow was introduced as one of 150 Leading Canadians for Mental Health (out of over 3,700 nominees!). An image from the event is on the left (left to right): Lynne Koss, co-founder, NIED, Jim Treliving, Chairman, Boston Pizza and National CoChair, CAMH Difference Makers, Wendy Preskow, founder of NIED and CAMH Difference Maker, Chris Summerville, Executive Director, Manitoba Schizophrenia Society.

On October 29, 2017, NIED founder Wendy Preskow was one of 15 recipients of the York Centre #Canada150 Service to Country & Community Award, presented by York Centre MP, Michael Levitt.

Parliament Needs To Address Eating Disorders statement made to the House of Commons, by Ms. Carol Hughes (MP, Algoma-Manitoulin-Kapuskasing), on February 8, 2017:

For Immediate Release:

February 8, 2017


Ottawa – Misunderstood, inadequately treated, and underfunded – eating disorders are considered the deadliest of mental illnesses since they are twelve times more likely to lead to death than any others, according to Algoma-Manitoulin-Kapuskasing MP Carol Hughes.

Hughes addressed the House of Commons to draw attention to her motion that calls on parliament to work with the provinces, territories, and indigenous communities to develop a coordinated Canadian Strategy on Eating Disorders.

“Last week I hosted an event in support of the National Initiative for Eating Disorders,” said Hughes. “This not-for-profit coalition works to increase awareness and education for the chronic situation facing sufferers of eating disorders and their families.”

Hughes noted that recovery is possible and starts with understanding for everyone involved.

“Seeking help is a courageous step and there is a big role for parents, families, and significant others to play,” said Hughes. “It is important that parliamentarians add their voices to the work being done to combat negative body image and improve awareness, research, and best practices for the treatment of eating disorders.”

Hughes hopes the motion will receive broad support from all sides of the House. She notes that the motion was originally sponsored by Rivière-des-Mille-Îles MP, Lauren Liu in the 41st parliament.

For More Information: Jamie Burgess, Office of Carol Hughes, 613-996-5376 –

December 5, 2016: Press Release on MPP Teresa Armstrong’s introduction of a bill in the Ontario Legislature to proclaim the first week of February each year as Eating Disorders Awareness Week in Ontario.

NDP MPP Armstrong to introduce bill to proclaim Eating Disorders Awareness Week in wake of Auditor General’s Report

Queen’s Park – London-Fanshawe MPP, Teresa Armstrong, will introduce a bill to proclaim the first week of February, “Eating Disorders Awareness Week,” after the Auditor General found that in 2015/16, children had to wait more than three months to receive help for severe Eating Disorders.

“Too many Ontarians are suffering in silence from these potentially fatal disorders and it’s time we begin to shine a light on this devastating mental health challenge and educate the public about them,” said Armstrong.

Armstrong cited last week’s Ontario’s Auditor General Report that noted, “…the lack of needed services in Ontario between 2011/12 and 2015/16 resulted in the Ministry spending almost $10 million to send 127 youth to the United States to obtain mental health services – primarily for severe eating disorders – as the needed specialty services were not  available in Ontario.”

“Sadly, Eating Disorders are on the increase at a disturbing rate, affecting a growing number of men and women, and a growing number of children,” said Armstrong. “This government is failing families and children. It’s time to tackle this problem head-on, and ensure that our health care system is there for Ontarians when they need it. My hope is that this bill will be a good first step towards healing. We are going to help those suffering through this day of awareness by letting them know they are not alone.”

The NDP MPP was joined by Wendy Preskow, Founder and President of NIED – National Initiative for Eating Disorders, and Dr. Blake Woodside, a psychiatrist with Toronto General Hospital Eating Disorder Program.

“Eating Disorders have the highest mortality rate of any mental illness,” said Preskow. “In recognition of the gaps in current health care services, delays in treatment, lack of funding, inadequate information and education in all levels of government, and for healthcare professionals, schools, and the public, NIED’s ultimate goal is to implement immediate action and change.”

“Families are not the cause of eating disorders despite popular thought. In fact, families are the most important part of recovery for those suffering,” said Dr. Woodside. “The $10 million the Liberal government spent sending 127 youth to the United States for help could have helped more than 500 Ontarians suffering from Eating Disorders.”

NIED founder and chief advocate, Wendy Preskow, is one of 25 Volunteer Toronto 2017 Legacy Award recipients for outstanding contributions to the community. Click here to view the Legacy Award winners.

Statement on Eating Disorders made to the House of Commons, by Ms. Yasmin Ratansi (MP, Don Valley East), on November 23, 2016.

Statement on Eating Disorders made to the House of Commons, by Mr. Doug Eyolfson (MP, Charleswood—St. James—Assiniboia—Headingley), on October 4, 2016.

The Statement on Eating Disorders made to the House of Commons, by Mr. Doug Eyolfson (MP, Charleswood – St. James – Assiniboia-Headingley), on October 4, 2016

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to bring attention to the complex and devastating issue of Eating Disorders in Canada. Unfortunately, not many are aware of the dark reality of Eating Disorders in this country. Therefore, as part of Mental Illness Awareness Week, I would like to shed light on these difficult illnesses.

They affect an estimated 600,000 to 900,000 Canadians at any given time and impact Canadian men and women of all ages and ethnicities. Research has shown that Eating Disorders have the highest mortality rate of all mental illnesses.

From my career as an emergency physician, I can attest to the struggles and serious negative health implications that people with eating disorders face. It’s time for all Canadians to look outside the stigma of mental illness and recognize Eating Disorders as a serious health issue. By acknowledging this mental illness, we are in turn helping the thousands of Canadians struggling to overcome this issue.

Interview with Wendy Preskow on Eating Disorder Hope

SEPTEMBER 26, 2016

International Interview Series Contributor: Wendy Preskow of Canada, Founder & President of National Initiative for Eating Disorders (NIED)

1. What inspired you to become involved in the Eating Disorder community throughout Canada?

Our daughter, 31, has been suffering from Anorexia and Bulimia for more than half her life. As parents, my husband and I have done everything possible – emotionally, physically and financially to provide and help her and it is never enough.

Our experiences of helplessness, frustration and ultimately anger fuelled me to want to create awareness and take action regarding the bizarre and unforgiving world of Eating Disorders. The pain, for sufferers and their families, is insurmountable. The stresses and strains on families ares extreme, horrendous and devastating. And there is a serious lack of awareness, treatment, funding and research in Canada.

For over 16 years we have lived with fear, stress, heartache, broken relationships, broken hearts, attempted suicides, self harm, shoplifting, worry, panic, helplessness and sometimes hope. We have been through every negative and positive emotion possible. We never ever have peace of mind.

We created the National Initiative for Eating Disorders – NIED – less than five years ago. It has been an incredible journey for us.

2. What keeps you in this work, day after day?

Our daughter continues to struggle day after day….as parents watching her getting more and more sick and waiting and waiting for her to get help keeps the fuel in me ignited. The sicker she gets the more pumped I am to make changes.

Knowing there are hundreds and thousands of families like ours across the country, I honestly believe it is my mission on earth to take this on. Our daughter is so proud of all I have done with our team, yet her pain and suffering lingers and lingers and lingers and so does ours.

3. What type of support does NIED provide the Eating Disorder community?

NIED has hosted 53 FREE symposia reaching out to over 2,000 in attendance. These events are for caregivers, sufferers, professionals, family, friends – anyone who wants to attend to get support, education and to hear from others that recovery is possible.

We have been honoured and privileged to have established close relationships with many experts in the country who willingly give of their time, share their expertise, do presentations at our events, attend meetings with us and on NIED’s behalf. These include researchers, psychologists, psychiatrists social workers, PhD students, lived experience parents and those who are on their road of recovery and beyond.

Since its inception, NIED has emerged as a progressive, dynamic and growing national collective voice for those Canadians and their families affected by Eating Disorders. We have taken a proactive leadership role actively collaborating with community groups, doctors, nutritionists, psychologists, schools, social workers, the courts, agencies, and like-minded organizations to increase awareness, understanding and education about Eating Disorders.

NIED has made connections with over 500 agencies/professionals who deal with Eating Disorders across Canada, uniting efforts to provide a collective voice for those struggling and their families. They continue to collaborate with like-minded organizations such as:

EDAC – Eating Disorders Association of Canada
NEDIC -National Eating Disorder Information Center
BANA – Bulimia Anorexia Nervosa Association
F.E.A.S.T – Families Empowered and Supporting Treatment of Eating Disorders
EDOYR – Eating Disorders of York Region, Ontario
Looking Glass Foundation – British Columbia
Sheena’s Place – Toronto, Ontario
Danielle’s Place – Burlington, Ontario
New Life Girls’ Home, Prince Edward County, Ontario
Hopewell – Ottawa, Ontario

NIED has also fostered ongoing networking and communication with mental health organizations in Canada. After all, Eating Disorders are a brain-based mental health illnesses that have the highest mortality rate of any mental illness. These organisations include:

CMHA – Canadian Mental Health Association
MHCC – Mental Health Commission of Canada
CDRIN – Canadian Depression Research Intervention Network
MDSC – Mood Disorder Society of Canada
PHAC – Public Health Agency of Canada
CAMIMH – Canadian Alliance for Mental Illness and Mental Health

NIED team members have meet with over 70 Federal Members of Parliament
(MPs) and Senators in Ottawa. The team has visited Parliament Hill 10 times
over the course of 4 and a half years.

4. What encouragement do you have for someone actively struggling with an Eating Disorder?

I am a Mom, and this is not something I can advise on. My best advice is for parents, loved-ones or caregivers of sufferers. And that is to get help and support for themselves so they do not go through this journey alone.

Learn more about eating disorder resources throughout Canada.

About the Author: Wendy is the passionate voice and driving force behind the National Initiative for Eating Disorders (NIED). Having lived with a sufferer and experienced the devastating effect Eating Disorders have on families and extended family and friends, Wendy reached the point of no return in late 2011. She could no longer sit back knowing her daughter was falling through the cracks of health care system that had failed her family and so many others in the same predicament. 

Together with a core team of passionate advocates and the encouragement of her former MP, Wendy formed NIED in February 2012 to drive Eating Disorders awareness, understanding and action.

Trained as an Early Childhood Educator, Wendy taught pre-school in South Africa and Toronto .A serious, energetic, get-it-done-now “do-er”, Wendy, currently divides her time between her family and grandkids, NIED, and walking her golden doodle Dazy!

The opinions and views of our guest contributors are shared to provide a broad perspective of eating disorders. These are not necessarily the views of Eating Disorder Hope, but an effort to offer a discussion of various issues by different concerned individuals.

We at Eating Disorder Hope understand that Eating Disorders result from a combination of environmental and genetic factors. If you or a loved one are suffering from an eating disorder, please know that there is hope for you, and seek immediate professional help.

Last Updated & Reviewed By: Jacquelyn Ekern, MS, LPC on September 21, 2016

NIED’s M.O.M. March, Queen’s Park, Toronto, October 27, 2015.

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