Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Open Letter to Parents and Caregivers, by Wendy Prescow

As parents of a 28 yr. old who has been suffering with Anorexia and Bulimia for over 13 years, my husband and I have done everything possible – emotionally, physically and financially to provide and help our daughter. 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 stress and strain on families is extreme, horrendous and devastating. There is no system in place to help our child/ yes at 28 she is a child with not only an eating disorder but paralyzed with anxiety and depression and still expected to navigate the so called system for help because of her age.

EATING DISORDERS KILL.
THEY HAVE THE HIGHEST MORTALITY RATE OF ANY MENTAL DISEASE.

Yet, unlike cancer, heart disease, aids, autism, etc., etc., Eating Disorders have NO PROFILE. YES, Eating Disorders are recognized as a MENTAL DISEASE, but they are seldom recognized or mentioned under the umbrella of mental illnesses.

We hear, read and see all about MENTAL HEALTH per se, but Eating Disorders are NOT on the mental health radar, programs, campaigns or agendas. The message we get is: just suffer in silence.

So here I am, on behalf of NIED, advocating to make changes and bring public awareness for Eating Disorders - just as Terry Fox and his mom did for cancer. Feb 2012 NIED was launched by MP Mark Adler and in April 2013 the doors to Parliament Hill were opened by Mark to NIED and professionals from across Canada. Mark established the first All Party Eating Disorder caucus.

NIED has been the catalyst to help strategize and establish an Eating Disorder Foundation of Canada- the same eventual magnitude as the Heart and Stroke and Cancer Foundations. This meeting took place here in Toronto on Oct 4 2013.I am overwhelmed and cannot believe another one of our dreams came true. As a follow up to the Foundation meeting NIED returned to the Hill in November 2103 - this time at the request of 16 MP's to continue our discussion and bring greater awareness to more MP's.

The best news the Standing Committee on the Status of Women are now doing a study on eating Disorders amongst girls and women. NIED will continue to Combat ignorance, Create awareness, Collaborate with like-minded individuals and organizations. Eating disorders kill, but they don’t have to.

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