NIED marks 10-year milestone as a leader in fostering Education, Understanding & Action for Eating Disorders in Canada

On February 22, 2012 the National Initiative for Eating Disorders (NIED) officially launched with a 30 second spot on Global Television. Within an hour they received their first call from a family whose daughter died by suicide as a result of her Eating Disorder. The calls have not stopped since that day.

This February 22, NIED will mark its 10-year milestone as one of the leaders in raising Education, Understanding and Action for Eating Disorders in Canada – a decade filled with many milestones for Eating Disorders in Canada.

NIED is a totally volunteer-run organization that has facilitated 76 free educational symposia with expert speakers and courageous individuals sharing lived experiences. They tirelessly advocated to get Eating Disorders on all mental health agendas provincially and federally and raised awareness within Health Canada, the Public Health Agency of Canada, Stats Canada and the Mental Health Commission of Canada.

“NIED is by far one of the most influential organizations in the field of Eating Disorders advocacy in the country. Their work is unparalleled, their reach expansive, and their commitment to breaking down barriers has led to much-needed changes in a system poorly equipped to treat Eating Disorders. They are tireless advocates, fierce leaders and visionaries.”… Dr. Anita Federici. PH.D C.PSYCH 

NIED became an active member of the Canadian Alliance on Mental Illness and Mental Health (CAMIMH), one of 13 national mental health organizations representing Eating Disorders nationwide.

A turning point for Eating Disorders in Canada came in 2016 when NIED hosted a meeting with the Canadian Eating Disorders community that inspired an alliance between four national organizations – the Canadian Eating Disorders Association – L’Association des troubles alimentaires du Canada (EDAC-ATAC), the Eating Disorders Foundation of Canada (EDFC), the National Eating Disorder Information Centre (NEDIC) and NIED. Over 450 organizations identified six priorities: Prevention, Public Education and Awareness, Treatment, Caregiver Support, Training and Research and this group went on to develop the first-ever Canadian Eating Disorders Strategy – a 10-year blueprint for change that launched in November 2019.

NIED has played a vital role in World Eating Disorders Action Day in conjunction with 160 countries whose mission is to unite activists across the globe to expand global awareness of Eating Disorders as genetically linked, treatable illnesses that can affect anyone. Many of the initiatives Canada developed have become a worldwide template.

NIED’s Hand Knit Hope Program has brought caregiver knitters together to make more than 800 items, that provide comfort and hope to those impacted with Eating Disorders, which were donated to spread warmth to Eating Disorders programs and other organizations locally and in eight provinces.

NIED is a totally volunteer run organization whose strength is the passion and dedication of their volunteers.

“As a nutrition student wanting to learn more about Eating Disorders in Canada, I looked no further than NIED,” says Olivia – one of NIED’s dedicated volunteers…”Being a volunteer with NIED was a powerful experience because I was constantly reminded that we were making a difference.”

And most recently, NIED, in collaboration with 30 partners, will conduct a study that will include researchers, scientists, physicians, healthcare professionals, people with lived experience and policy makers to provide a clear empirically-driven synopsis of the total economic burden (including a psycho-social cost breakdown) that Eating Disorders impose on the Canadian Economy. The Economic Burden Study, as it is referred to, is the first of its kind in Canada. Key anticipated outcomes include recommendations for post-pandemic care to inform policy development, the allocation of funding for both community and hospital-based services, and recommendations for actions required to better support the recovery of those challenged by this serious mental illness.

NIED is also part of a national working group collaborating on unifying messaging for Eating Disorders Awareness Week (EDAW) from February 1st to 7th, an event whereby organizations across the country host local events, light up notable landmarks in purple, and engage in public education campaigns to generate greater awareness about Eating Disorders. The week helps educate about the impact of Eating Disorders, dispels the myths and stigmas associated with them and illuminates the tremendous gaps in funding and services, with the ultimate goal of motivating those 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.

It has been a momentous 10 years but there is so much more that needs to be done.

“Thanks to all our passionate volunteers who have worked tirelessly to get NIED where we are today,” says Wendy Preskow, NIED’s president  and founder. “Ten years ago I could never have imagined the respect and support we have received from experts across the country who work alongside us. We began with the aim to create Awareness, Understanding, and Action for Eating Disorders. Now, as we enter our next decade, we look forward to amplifying our mission as change-makers and collaborators on behalf of all those touched by Eating Disorders…whether personally or professionally.”

NIED has started a GoFundME campaign with a goal of raising $10,000 to commemorate its 10-year milestone and to continue its work on behalf of those challenged by Eating Disorders. To give to NIED’s GoFundMe campaign, please click here.


For further information, please contact:
Lynne Koss
Co-Founder/Vice President
National Initiative for Eating Disorders – NIED 
Twitter: @nied_ca