New program will save lives
I recently attended a press conference at which the provincial government announced the establishment of an intensive care inpatient program for our eating disorder families.
The announcement came as a part of government’s commitment to implement immediately a number of mental health and addictions strategies resulting from some 54 recommendations of an all-party committee and contained in the Towards Recovery — A Vision for a Renewed Mental Health and Addictions in our province.
Once realized, this intensive care program will allow families to have a much greater role in their family member’s recovery journey. Today, our more seriously ill eating disorder persons have to, in most cases, travel offisland for such treatment and without the very necessary family support which we can all understand is an essential part of what can be a long and difficult road to a successful recovery outcome. Speaking for our many thousands of eating disorder families, we appreciate and are grateful for this expression of caring for those who need this support, and want to thank Premier Dwight Ball and Health Minister John Haggie for this effort, knowing that clearly save lives.
The introduction of this program, coupled with existing good programs at the Janeway Hospital and the very successful program presently in place for intensive care outpatients, have substantially improved treatment support services for what I consider to be an eating disorder epidemic in our province and indeed across Canada.
A recent report issued by the federal government’s Department of Health on the state of eating disorders in Canada revealed that there are close to one million people experiencing an eating disorder, including a sobering note that eating disorders are substantially underreported.
While a lot of very worthwhile discussion has taken place in recent years about mental health and addictions, these announcements clearly signal a tangible and proactive approach that we it will are finally moving to a more focused strategy of reforming mental health and addictions care in our province.
It’s important to note that while these new programs are necessary and significant, it is incumbent on each one of us to do what we can to support those who require a more sensitive and caring approach in our everyday lives. My experience tells me that the first and most important step to recovery is to encourage and support a more caring, understanding and sensitive environment for those who come forward for support.
I challenge each one of us, starting today, to do what we can in our community support groups, families, workplaces and our social places to rise and seize the opportunity to make a difference.
It’s astounding what can be accomplished when we work together. A good example of this is the all-party committee’s work on the Towards Recovery Report; a clear and productive demonstration of real leadership. Lets continue and build on Towards Recovery; I remain optimistic that in time it will produce very positive outcomes.
Vince Withers, chair
Eating Disorder Foundation of NL