An animated promotion clip will soon be appearing on screens in Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre waiting rooms to help people with eating disorders and their families.
The short 30-second clip will be part of the video rotation at more than 200 Alberta Health Services (AHS) facilities and was released to mark World Eating Disorders Action Day on Saturday.
The clip advertises a 3.5-minute animated video at — www.eatingdisorders.info — to help families navigate the system and find help for their loved ones. The video is accompanied by a PDF with all the necessary links and resources.
“This will be the first time that our message will be appearing on those screens. I feel like it is a very, very significant step forward,” said Sue Huff, executive director of Eating Disorder Support Network of Alberta (EDSNA).
The video was released by Silver Linings Foundation and EDSNA in collaboration with AHS. Silver Linings Foundation, a Calgary-based charity, is working to create Alberta’s first residential eating disorder treatment center.
Huff said up until this point eating disorders have never had this kind of public profile at AHS health centres.
“I think it will really help to bring the illness into public awareness and also send a clear message it’s okay to reach out for help, and that it’s an illness like any other illness. Hopefully it will help combat some of the shame and stigma that surrounds eating disorders.”
Eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of any psychiatric illness and affect between one and five per cent of the total population.
She said a committee struck two years ago identified that one of the barriers to getting help was navigating the system.
“We know the recovery rates are drastically improved if people seek out help quickly and find help quickly.”
The video will also provide information to health care professionals who often don’t know where to find help for their patients, she said.
Huff said World Eating Disorders Action Day is largely an online event with 200 organizations around the world participating. It’s the third year the day has been recognized and this year the theme is Breaking the Stigma.
“I feel like our little project here in Alberta is working towards that goal.”
For information visit www.worldeatingdisordersday.org
The eating disorder information video is also available both EDSNA and Silver Linings websites.