Eating disorders can be isolating for individuals as well as families, and the march is the perfect time to realize you’re not alone. Other people have been where you are and can empathize with you. They know how it feels to celebrate milestones like trying a new food or restoring weight instead of graduating from school or starting a new job. They know how eating disorders affect entire families and turn lives upside down.
ANAD believes it’s important to come together as a mass to share these stories about the struggles individuals and families face on the journey to recovery. We hear from thousands of people each year, and although they are all unique, there are similarities in their stories—having to travel out of state to access treatment, fighting with insurance companies for benefits, going to extreme lengths to pay for treatment—in some cases, taking out a second mortgage or filing for bankruptcy.
We hear on our helpline all too often about the bureaucracy families encounter at a time when all of their energy should be focused on recovery. It’s not fair parents have to fight the system at the same time they’re worried about saving their child’s life. It’s not fair they have to take out second mortgages in order to pay for treatment. ANAD also receives a lot of requests for information, so we know far too many misconceptions still exist about eating disorders. Too many people don’t know the symptoms of eating disorders or how important it is to seek treatment immediately. Too many people struggle to have their insurance company cover their treatment. Too many people are dying when we can do something to prevent it.
They deserve better. We all deserve better.
We must demand change from Congress because we are more powerful as a group than individually. We will raise our voices to share heart-wrenching stories of the struggles of finding treatment and ask Congress to act to prevent more unnecessary pain and suffering.
That is why ANAD continues to support the MOM March. We have to let our representatives in Congress know this is a crisis with a solution, which starts with passing the Anna Westin Act. We need more research funding to identify the causes of eating disorders and create new treatments. We need to train more educators, physicians and health care professionals on how to identify eating disorders and intervene to have the best chance at a full recovery. We need to hold insurance companies to the promise in the Mental Health Parity Act of coverage for residential treatment.
ANAD will continue to support the march and encourage our volunteers and supporters to call their representatives to ask them to vote “yes” on this bill. It’s way overdue. More than 30 million Americans struggle with eating disorders, which have the highest mortality rate of any mental illness, yet receive a fraction of the research funding and media attention of other illnesses. It’s time for change.
So attend the march. Lobby your officials. Let them know you hold them accountable for their vote.
Raise your voice. Be heard.
Register NOW! www.MarchAgainstED.com