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Eating Disorders Coalition

 

As many of you may already be aware of, on February 25, 2009 the Eating Disorders Coalition along with the FREED Foundation and others advocating the FREED Act – The Federal Response to Eliminate Eating Disorders – H.R. 1193, successfully were able to get the bill to the House floor.

The next important step towards getting the bill passed will be taking place on April 1-2, 2009 when EDC holds their annual Lobby Day gathering.

If you are not able to attend this event and/or additionally would like to add your voice towards enacting this important and comprehensive legislation for eating disorders that promotes research, treatment, education and prevention programs please write to your state representatives urging them to learn more and help support the passing of the FREED Act.

Below is a sample letter that can be modified and added with your personal message:

Your Name
Street Address
City

March –, 2009

The Honorable First Name Last Name
United States House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515

Dear Congressman(woman) –,

As a member of the Eating Disorders Coalition and someone who has personally suffered the impact of living with an eating disorder, I am writing you today to ask your support for the Federal Response to Eliminate Eating
Disorders Act (H.R. 1193).

This is the first comprehensive eating
disorders bill in the history of Congress. By focusing on research, education, prevention and treatment this bill is a beacon of hope for the millions of people currently suffering from an eating disorder.

It is estimated that 9 million Americans suffer from anorexia, bulimia, binge eating and other eating disorders. Eating disorders are associated with a host of medical complications including cardiac arrhythmia, cognitive impairment, osteoporosis, infertility, heart failure and most seriously death. In fact, anorexia nervosa has the highest death rate of all mental disorders, upwards of 20%.

Research shows that eating disorders can be successfully overcome with early detection and adequate and appropriate treatment. Unfortunately eating disorders are often undiagnosed by health professionals and/or access to treatment is limited. Less than half of all people with eating disorders receive the treatment needed.

The Federal Response to Eliminate Eating Disorders (the FREED Act) can change these state of affairs. H.R. 1193 will save lives by providing more funds for research so that we can better understand, prevent and treat eating disorders, grant programs that provide training for health professionals, and steps toward better access to treatment coverage.

We urge you to sign on as a cosponsor of the FREED Act. I look forward to
hearing from you. Thank you again for your consideration.

Warm regards,

*You can make a difference! Merci!*
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President Signs Mental Health Parity Legislation!

Thanks to the thousands of Advocacy Network members who lent tireless support to our years-long effort to win enactment of legislation to end discrimination in mental health coverage. Today we won! After House passage of the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act today, 263-171, President Bush has at last signed mental health/addiction parity into law.
Click here to learn more about the Paul Wellstone and Pete Domenici Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008.

-Fantastic news worth celebrating!

 

By now everyone has read and seen the devastation caused by the earthquake measuring a magnitude of 7.9 in the Sichuan province of China.  We have been holding our breath these past couple of days since dear friends of ours were living and working in China but were extremely fortunate and arrived saftely back home in India. 

Many, many  others are yet to be accounted for, and have not been left untouched by this horrific natural disaster– something of this extent not witnessed in over thirty years.

There are several relief organizations  scrambling to help those who have been affected by this catastrophe, though what’s growing increasingly frustrating is how the local government is really making things difficult for aid-workers to get through and deliver assistance ASAP.

We continue to send our deepest sympathies and heartfelt condolences to all those affected by this tragic event.

-shanti

                                                 “This day is a special day, it is yours

                           Yesterday slipped away, it cannot be filled anymore with meaning

                                                   About tomorrow nothing is known.

                                           But this day, today, is yours, make use of it.

                                                Today you can make someone happy.

                                                      Today you can help another,

                                                This day is a special day, it is yours.

                                                              -INDIAN POEM-

APF/Getty Images  Bertrand Guay

There is quite a bit of debate heating up lately, even over at ATDT parents are sharing their thoughts on this topic, regarding recent legistlation created by France lawmaker Valerie Boyer that France is passing towards imposing strict fines, even imprisonment against the proliferation and promotion of “pro-ana/mia” within websites, media images, the fashion industry and beyond that continue to hightlight clearly unhealthy anorexic/ED’d-looking, emaciated ultra-thin bodies– “legislating body weight” some are finger-waging. 

The reviews and feedback are certainly mixed, some downright misinformedstiil -and so sorely one-sided which to me only illuminates just how complex these issues are; and more importantly  how much more of this conversation and dialogue needs to keep happening and developing.

I haven’t delved into a full exploration of my opinions on this yet, but I do think while we can’t police every site, ban every image, twisted ideal there certainly is something that we are all responding and reacting to when we see someone who looks so severely malnourished, skeletal and unwell. 

As a mother of a daughter who suffers from Anorexia Nerovsa I do have an immediate heartwrenching reaction to this issue, and do believe there is not just a “personal” responsiblity but public and social conscience we all need to be connected to and address at some basic level without turning a blind-eye and pretending none of this has any impact on society whatsoever– clearly it does.

         

 

Some incredible individuals and parent advocates have been hard at work the past two days in Washington working with legislators on Capital Hill for the annual Eating Disorders Coalition Lobby Day to push forth further measures and legislation in the continuation to further progress within treatment, research, prevention and education of eating disorders. 

This is vital and necessary work.  I for one am so very grateful, since I was not able to attend, for all of these individuals who have committed themselves towards improving the lives of those affected by this devastating illness and the families that are doing so much of this work solo, without much support, treatment resources, and clinicians adequately trained to best help their loves ones. 

Thank you EDC and its sponsors, Ms Laura Collins— you are the best!

 

Advocacy

“It’s about opening up the doors and ending the shadow of discrimination against the mentally ill.”

-Patrick Kennedy 

Today’s news is quite uplifting.   And the 268-148 vote does speak to the dire need to continue towards enacting mental-health parity and mandating health insurance coverage equal to that of physical illness for mental health  and addiction.  I think Paul Wellstone would be encouraged to see some progress being made after nearly a decade of back and forth bi-partisan bickering and huge corporate influence , (and currently, to no one’s surprise, big-ph-arm Eli Lilly  is really throwing a tantrum!), to strangle this vital legislation.

And there are plenty of critics who are rallying this victory as “mental-health insanity” and clearly looking only at their own financial dunk, but it’s truly time to stop stigmatizing those with mental illness who clearly need the same standard of quality care and treatment that any sane society would not withhold or financially ruin one with personally while working towards full health, healing and recovery.

I, unfortunately live in a state that does not currently have mental-health parity- yet.  But I was impressed to read an in depth study done last spring by the La Follette School of Public Affairs in our state, that despite not having all the conclusive data to make absolute recommendations regarding mental-health parity, has incredibly convincing and thought-provoking details putting to bunk some of the primary reasoning against implementing mental-health parity that I would encourage anyone interested in advocating for mental health disparity to read.   These studies really can be applied and adapted for further critique and implemented across all states, so that we will eventually see more than thirteen states that have adopted mental-health parity law.

-shanti

End Health Discrimination
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