'Suffering for years': Advocates call on B.C. to improve health supports for adults with eating disorders
A Vancouver Island advocacy group is calling on the B.C. government for better access to safe and timely supports for adults with eating disorders.
Members of Vancouver Island Voices for Eating Disorders (VIVED) held a rally at the B.C. Legislature on Tuesday afternoon, marking the last day of National Eating Disorder Awareness Week for 2023.
"The theme this year is 'transforming asks into action.' For us, that really meant it was important to go public and to be demanding action from our health authorities and from our ministries," said VIVED member Celeste Macevicius.
"We’re really asking for better engagement of people with lived and living experience with eating disorders to be involved," she said.
"We’ve been trying. We write policy briefs and we try to set up meetings and we keep getting excluded or dismissed."
VIVED is calling on the province for more funding and education, to create community support groups, and to fund team-based treatment options that would include dietitians, counsellors and general practitioners.
The group says eating disorders have the second highest mortality rate of any psychiatric illness in B.C., and that waiting for adequate treatment is costing people their lives.
"And there’s many more who are suffering for years who have had to quit their jobs, who have had to quit their community commitments, who are leaving their families," said Macevicius.
"One of my closest friends waited three months for a bed. She’s on palliative care right now and suffering to such a high degree that would not have been necessary if there had just been adequate, safe and accessible services for her," she said.
At Tuesday’s rally, members of VIVED displayed 20 painted rocks in memory of loved ones who died of eating disorders before the age of 60.
The group says it will keep holding rallies and writing policy briefs to put pressure on the province for change.
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