No discrimination when it comes to eating disorders: Hotel Dieu Hospital marks Eating Disorders Awareness Week, Feb. 1-5

One message will prevail when Hotel Dieu Hospital marks Eating Disorders Awareness Week (EDAW) Feb. 1-5:  eating disorders do not discriminate—they affect people of every age, race, gender and socio-economic status.

For example, one in four individuals with an eating disorder is male.  But only a small fraction of men seek help because they may assume treatment services exist only for women, says Dr. Brad Mac Neil, a clinical psychologist in the Adult Eating Disorders Clinic at Hotel Dieu. 

“Eating disorders in males often go unrecognized, so many men don’t receive the care they need,” he says.  “That’s why Hotel Dieu has introduced a special treatment track for men living with eating disorders, the first service of its kind in our community.”

That unique service and more will be spotlighted 9:30-11:45 am, Tuesday, Feb. 2, when Mac Neil and his colleagues host an Open House in Hotel Dieu’s Adult Eating Disorders Clinic.  Community members can tour the clinic, learn about its services at short, informal presentations and meet clinicians.  At 11:45 am, everyone is invited to Northern Smash, when bathroom scales brought in by clinic clients are bashed to help raise awareness about weight-based stigma and body image.

And from 12-1 pm, community members can visit a display and chat with the eating disorders team from the hospital’s Child & Adolescent Eating Disorders program.

“We have a strong program based entirely on helping families help their kids with eating disorders,” says program social worker Patricia Marchand.  The program continues its support once youth are medically stable and through their eating disorder treatment.  For instance, says Marchand, the hospital recently introduced a new “Managing Powerful Emotions” group, created in conjunction with Providence Care, which helps kids to manage new ways of coping with distress. 

For more information about Hotel Dieu’s EDAW events, please call 613-544-3400, ext. 3380.

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