While You Wait
Seeking help for an eating disorder is a powerful step toward recovery. Many say it’s the hardest one. But if the treatment that’s right for you is not available right away, you may find yourself facing another challenge: a waiting period before care begins.
We know how hard this can be. We’re here to support you with the resources you need to navigate this time.
Why is there a waitlist for some programs?
The pandemic’s impact on eating disorders is profound and ongoing. Over the past few years, we have witnessed a dramatic increase not only in eating disorders but also in the severity of symptoms. Consider the following statistics, excerpted from the Eating Disorders Coalition’s letter to Admiral Rachel L. Levine, Assistant Secretary for Health for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services:
- 62% of people in the U.S. with anorexia experienced a worsening of symptoms as the pandemic hit, and nearly one-third of Americans with bulimia and binge eating disorder reported an increase in binge eating episodes and urges, according to an ongoing study from the National Center of Excellence for Eating Disorders (NCEED)
- NEDA saw a 40% increase in helpline call volume during the first year of the pandemic
- The National Alliance for Eating Disorders saw a 108% increase in referrals and an 82% increase in support group attendance in 2020 and surpassed those figures in 2021
- Eating disorder treatment providers have seen a 30–100% increase in demand for care, with call volumes and inquiries for care doubling, increasing acuity of illness, and wait times expanding from 1 week to 6–8 months in some areas of the country
In short, the demand for eating disorder care has never been higher. Organizations like The Emily Program and our sibling brand Veritas Collaborative are actively working to expand access to treatment with additional services and programs—but still, the need is great. Consistent with national trends, some of our programs are seeing waitlists due to the dramatic increase in demand.
How long will my wait be?
Wait times vary by treatment program and location. You will know there is an opening in the program you’re waiting for through communication with your Admissions Coordinator. They will contact you after your eating disorder assessment and keep you informed at regular intervals until you are admitted into the program.
What can I do while I wait for treatment?
We encourage you to stay connected with your community-based providers while you wait for treatment to begin. Continue to see your community medical provider and any mental health, nutrition, or psychiatry professionals in the meantime.
Please consider giving your community providers written consent for them to share information with The Emily Program by completing this Release of Information form. The exchange of information between providers can be especially useful in guiding care decisions.
Don’t hesitate to reach out to us if you have questions about the waitlist, have found care elsewhere, or decided against seeking care with us at this time. We want to hear from you.
While you wait, you might question whether it is worth it to proceed with treatment or feel disheartened with waiting. This is understandable. We want you to know that you are not alone in these feelings, and there are resources available to you during this time.
Free Community Resources
Virtual Support Groups
The National Alliance for Eating Disorders offers free virtual support groups led by licensed eating disorder clinicians. Among them are weekly Pro-Recovery Support Groups for adults affected by an eating disorder and Friends & Family Support Groups for loved ones.
- Pro-Recovery Support Group: Mondays, 4pm PT, 6pm CT, 7pm ET
- Pro-Recovery Support Group: Saturdays, 8am PT, 10am CT, 11am ET
- LGBTQ+ Pro-Recovery Support Group: Wednesdays, 4pm PT, 6pm CT, 7pm ET
- Friends & Family Support Group: Wednesdays, 4pm PT, 6pm CT, 7pm ET
Learn more and register on The Alliance’s website.
Hear speakers share their personal stories of dedication and perseverance on the road to recovery from eating disorders. Speakers include Emily Program staff, former clients, and community members. We also offer Emily Program Expert Series Q&A Recovery Nights. These community-based discussions around recovery are led by Emily Program clinicians.
Recovery Night is free and open to the public; anyone is invited to attend, including clients, support people, and the community. We know healing is not an easy journey but you can find hope here. Find the Recovery Night schedule below.
Share your recovery story
Your experience on the path to recovery can inspire others and affirm that there is hope. If you are willing to share your recovery story in a genuine and honest way, please contact us. We’d love to hear from you!
1-888-364-5977 ext. 1806
ED 101: Understanding Eating Disorders, Treatment, and Recovery
We know how overwhelming an eating disorder diagnosis can be for families and friends. The terminology. The process. The uncertainties. Share an evening with us to learn about eating disorders, our personalized treatment programs, and the path to recovery. Our knowledgeable staff at The Emily Program answer common concerns of families and friends facing eating disorder issues for the first time. You’ll leave with valuable resources and a better understanding of this serious mental health issue. We recommend family and friends who are new to eating disorders attend this session at least once before joining a Friends and Family Session for a better experience in the group.
Virtual Event: Eating Disorders 101, Hosted by Hannah Kirby MS, RD, CD, Dietitian at our Seattle outpatient location: 2nd Thursday of the month, 6–7pm PT.
Upcoming dates: Oct. 13th, Nov. 10th, Dec. 8th. Join us via Zoom.
Friends and Family Sessions
The Emily Program offers free evening Friends and Family Sessions open to the public. No need to register; just drop in. (Please note: This group is intended for family and friends providing support to loved ones with an eating disorder. If you are a client or potential client, please attend our ED 101 or Recovery Night events if you would like to learn more.)
Virtual Event: Friends and Family Session, Hosted by Melissa Harmon, MA, LMHC, Clinical Manager at our Seattle outpatient location: 1st and 3rd Thursday of the month, 6–7pm PT.
Upcoming dates: Oct. 6th, Nov. 3rd, Dec. 1st. Join us via Zoom
And: Sept. 15th, Oct. 20th, Nov. 17th, Dec. 15th. Join us via Zoom
"Ask an Expert" Live
Join us on social media for "Ask an Expert" live. Dr. Jillian Lampert answers common questions about eating disorders, treatment, and recovery from our social media followers.
Ask an Expert Facebook live: Friday, September 9th, 9am PT, 11am CT, 12pm ET.
Ask an Expert Instagram live: Tuesday, November 8th, 11:30am PT, 1:30pm CT, 2:30pm ET.
Eating Disorder Helplines
- Call 1-800-937-2237 or text 800-931-2237 to connect with a helpline volunteer trained to provide the eating disorder support and information you need
- If you are in a crisis and need help immediately, text “NEDA” to 741741 to connect with a trained volunteer at the Crisis Text Line. Crisis Text Line provides free, 24/7 support via text messages to individuals who are struggling with mental health, including eating disorders, and are experiencing crisis situations.
- Visit the NEDA website for more information or to access online chat support.
- Call 1-888-375-7767 for support, encouragement, and more.
- Visit the ANAD website for more information.
- If you are in crisis, there are options available to help you cope. For confidential support available 24/7 for everyone in the United States, call or text 988 to connect with the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline. Chat services are also available.
- Visit the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline website for more information or to access chat support.
Please access the nearest Emergency Department or call 911 in case of a life-threatening medical or mental health emergency.
With Me When app
Find inspiration, education, and encouragement wherever you go with the With Me When app.
- Logs to track meals, behaviors, feelings, and goals
- Tools to develop coping skills
- Exercises to support mindfulness and relaxation
- Insights to better understand eating disorders and the recovery process
With the ability to customize logs and more, you can tailor the With Me When experience so that it’s uniquely yours. If you’re an Emily Program client, you can also complete your client paperwork and receive appointment alerts through the app.
Access the web version of With Me When here.