People suffering from eating disorders in Red Deer will soon have somewhere to go to find support.
The Eating Disorder Support Network of Alberta (EDSNA) revealed plans to expand their services to the Red Deer area during an official launch at Red Deer College last Friday.
“It has always been a part of our vision to move throughout Alberta,” said Moyra McAllister, who is the president and founder of EDSNA.
The organization began holding its first professionally-facilitated support groups in Edmonton in April of 2014.
McAllister was motivated to create EDSNA after her daughter was diagnosed with anorexia. “It’s a part of life that I never thought I’d go through,” McAllister said.
She noted before EDSNA, finding support for people suffering from eating disorders in Alberta could be a difficult task.
McAllister stressed eating disorders can affect anyone and that those who might be suffering from one should seek help. “There are so many people who are dealing with this disorder alone and lonely and feeling like there are no answers,” she said.
The organization will be holding support groups to assist those who are suffering from eating disorders as well as their family and friends.
EDSNA was able to expand their programs because of contributions from both Alberta Health and Mental Health and Addictions.
“It is a significant step in addressing the needs of those with eating disorders in Central Alberta,” said Red Deer North MLA Kim Schreiner, who was speaking on behalf of Alberta Health Minister Sarah Hoffman.
Schreiner added the Alberta government is contributing over $300,000 to assist EDSNA in its expansion. “When it comes to eating disorders, the long-term health, and even the lives, of our loved ones can hang in the balance,” she said.
In addition to the funds from the government, EDSNA is also receiving support from Red Deer College, which donated the use of space on campus for the organization to hold its sessions.
“Red Deer College is committed to the well-being of our students, faculty and staff and we actively promote physical and mental wellness,” said Leslie Kendall, who is the vice president of human resources at the College.
Kendall also said the College would work with EDSNA, as well as the RDC Students’ Association, to promote awareness of eating disorders.
Mayor Tara Veer said EDSNA was a welcome addition to the community.
“The two Red Deer support groups now established through EDSNA will thankfully offer the opportunity for those living with the effects of an eating disorder to find the community supports that they so desperately need,” she said.
EDSNA will be offering two separate support group sessions. The session for those suffering from eating disorders will take place on Tuesday evenings from Oct. 12th through Nov. 17th at RDC. The session for parents, partners and loved ones will be held on Wednesday evenings from Oct. 14th through Nov. 25th at the Collicutt Centre.
Registration for both sessions is open now at www.eatingdisordersupportnetworkofalberta.com.