Posts Tagged ‘Community’

How To Support LGBTQ+ Individuals With Eating Disorders

Two rainbow hearts held together by two hands

June is Pride Month, a time to celebrate the LGBTQ+ community and sexual and gender diversity. Members of the community and allies unite in pride and solidarity to recognize, honor, and uplift the voices of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer and/or questioning people.

As we honor the LGBTQ+ community this month and beyond, we must also commit to better understanding and addressing the issues it faces. One such issue is eating disorders, which affect LGBTQ+ people at disproportionately high rates.

In this article, we explore eating disorders in the LGBTQ+ community and offer ways to support affected community members during Pride and throughout the year.

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Participate in World Eating Disorders Action Day

A group of adults standing outside

Each June, members of the eating disorder community unite to recognize World Eating Disorders Action Day (WEDAD). People experiencing eating disorders firsthand, along with the friends, families, providers, researchers, and policymakers who support them, rally across the globe around a common goal of understanding, connection, and healing.

We invite you to join us this year. Here are five actions you can take today to support eating disorder awareness, education, and recovery.

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A message from Dave Willcutts, CEO of The Emily Program

To our communities, friends, and colleagues:

The events that have occurred in the Twin Cities and across the nation are heartbreaking. The Emily Program is a member of the communities in which we live, work, and serve. We stand in solidarity with the community’s call for change and we are seeking ways we can listen, learn, and participate to fight systemic racism and injustice.

We have been asked about concrete actions that we are taking, so I will share that here. I want to emphasize that this is the beginning of our response; it is not a one-time response. There is a necessity for real action to have a real impact across the country, and we, as an employer, as community members, and as caregivers play a critical role in that action and the extent of its impact.

What I describe below is what we’re doing today. Over the coming days and weeks, we must listen, learn and open up to understanding, so that the plans we make, the actions we take, the participation we engage in is effective and informed. We don’t want to see the impact fall short, as so often seems to be the result.

Here are a few actions we are taking now:

1. The Emily Program will be donating $10,000 at this time towards two activities: a) Engaging with The Urban League to join with their national and local efforts addressing institutionalized racism. b) Supporting local clean-up, support, and rebuilding efforts in our communities.

2. We have engaged the Director of Programs at Avenues for Youth, Dr. Zayed Ahmed, to facilitate process groups specifically for our BIPOC staff members.

3. Staff members who choose to take time off work to participate in community efforts will not be required to use PTO.

4. Last week we initiated process groups for all staff as an open forum for support and sharing, led by Liz McCabe. Ph.D, one of our most experienced social workers. These will continue through the week and beyond, as needed.

5. Our executive team will be participating in local clean-up and community support this week in Minneapolis and St. Paul and are seeking ways for staff to participate in each of the communities.

Going forward we will continue to seek to engage, listen, and learn. From these efforts, we will develop further action plans focused on our communities and The Emily Program. I feel it is important I say that I recognize that I am a white man, that TEP is a predominately white-led and white-staffed organization, and that it is from this position, so different than George Floyd’s position, that we must listen and learn. I know this is a journey that takes a commitment of time and focus. I recognize that this is a starting point and we need to do more.

I am extremely grateful for our staff, working through so much every day in so many different ways to care for clients while they care for themselves and for our leaders across the organization persistently working to support their teams.

Our journey through 2020 continues and I am proud to be here with all of you finding our best path through.

Dave Willcutts, CEO

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Self-Care in the Summer

Three teens jumping

With the warm weather and summer activities, it can be easy to forget to take time to yourself over the summer. The Emily Program knows how essential taking time to care for yourself during recovery is, so we reached out to our community and staff to see how they practice self-care. If you aren’t sure where to start, try using one of their ideas!

“To practice self-care I force myself to lay down, even when and if my eating disorder tells me that I’m lazy, and I watch my favorite show—Grey’s Anatomy!” – Kara

“My favorite way to practice self-care in the summer is to lay in my hammock and read a good book in the evening, while the world is settling in for another night. Of course, I need plenty of bug spray!” – Maggie Meyers

“I make a glass of tea and I take a nap on bad days.” – C. F.

“I offer clients this handout to read. I also remind them that ‘self-care’ is not always bubble baths and pedicures, but it’s also nourishing the body, adequate sleep, therapy, etc.!” –Abbie Scott

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Part 1: How Culture can Influence Eating, Eating Disorders, and Recovery

Indian Food and Gathering

Bhakti Doroodian is an independently licensed marriage and family therapist who currently works for The Emily Program as a Clinical Manager and DBT Therapist.  Her background includes treating individuals, couples, and families with a wide variety of mental health and family dynamic concerns.  Her passion for eating disorders surfaced as she noticed the detrimental effects of it on not just the individual, but on the family system as a whole.  She hopes to continue educating clients on the importance of health, wellness, and body acceptance in all forms.   

Food equals love.  This was a concept I learned early on when my grandmother would secretly give me all of my favorite treats before dinner.  When I would fall sick, my mother would make me eat bitter melon for dinner followed by a tall glass of ginger-turmeric milk to nurse me back to health.  After my grandparents passed away, friends and distant relatives brought my family many of our favorite dishes to comfort and support us through a painful time in our lives.  Although I was born and raised in California, my relationship with food was largely influenced by my South Asian roots.  Every summer, my sister and I would pack up our most precious belongings, and head to India to spend our break with aunts, uncles, grandparents, and cousins.  While our cousins would fantasize about a life in the United States with the education opportunities, fast cars, and fashion models, my sister and I relished in the simplicity of living in India, even if it was only for a few short months.  

Every day, hand-in-hand, my grandmother and I would walk to the market to see what produce was available for that day’s dinner.  There was no refrigerator, pantry, or grocery store where we could store the essentials.  Instead, our variety was 100% dependent upon what was in season or available that day and whether or not we could afford the farmers’ ever-changing price for produce.  Options were limited so rarely did we choose our meals based on our mood or cravings. Rather, the focus was on counting our blessings and eating nutrient-dense meals to have energy for the day’s work.

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Community blog: Why should I start treatment this summer?

Women standing on the beach

Summer is a time for fun, relaxing, swimming, and soaking up the sun. Unfortunately, if you have an eating disorder, summer can quickly lose its shine. While the sunny months may seem like an inconvenient time to get eating disorder treatment, it is important to remember that the best time to start treatment is now. Still unsure? Read what The Emily Program community had to say when asked, “Why should I start treatment this summer?”

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