Our second request is to recognize National Eating Disorder Awareness Week the last week in February to decrease the stigma around eating disorders and raise awareness which will help individuals to seek treatment.
This EDC Advocacy Day was different than my first experience in 2015. In 2015 we spent a large part of our meetings with Representatives providing ED101 - this year every congressional leader’s office was aware and most knew someone that struggled with an eating disorder. I believe this is due to the Anna Westin Act elements included in the CURES Act and the hard work of many advocates joining forces with the EDC. Thank you to EDC and so many other organizations for advocating for 17 years. Kitty Westin and I met in 2015 at a MOM March that honored loved ones lost to an eating disorder – Anna Westin is Kitty’s daughter, Katie Bruner is my daughter. Kitty said “We are on a mission to save lives, change minds, and work to eliminate eating disorders .”
Our Indiana Team met with Staff from Senator Todd Young (R), Senator Joe Donnelly (D), Congressman Peter Visclosky (D), Congressman Luke Messer (R), and Congressman Trey Hollingsworth (R). Our team arrived early to our meeting with Congressman Luke Messer’s Staff and was surprised when he came off the elevator and had an impromptu meeting with us. He told us he would like to research the information and based on our conversation felt he would support both requests. Each staff member indicated they would present our requests to their boss. Please contact your elected officials and encourage them to take action. Lobby Days are twice a year – join us – for more information feel free to contact Tri-State Eating Disorder Resource Team, a NEDA Network Member at email@example.com or visit the EDC website at www.eatingdisorderscoalition.org
Washington DC is beautiful; it is our Capital, the hub of our National legislative process, a process we must protect. Walking through the halls of Russell, Hart, Rayburn and Longworth can be inspiring, intimidating and humbling. I believe we are part of a great nation. Our leaders listen to us and want to discuss our concerns.
We presented two requests:
First request is that our leaders sign a bi-partisan letter urging the Center For Disease Control (CDC) to re-include eating disorders questions in the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, and include new eating disorders surveillance questions in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey and National Health Interview Survey. In 2015 the CDC removed eating disorder questions – eating disorder behaviors are not currently monitored. Monitoring is critical to answer urgent questions, learn early signs and symptoms, and aides in research to find effective treatment. In 2011 (last date ED responses were available for Indiana) Indiana students grades 9-12 responses to eating disorder was concerning – eating disorder behavior questions ranked higher than the national average. More than 30 million Americans will experience an eating disorder in their lifetime. Only 1 in 3 receives care.
It was a privilege to be part of #EDCHillDay, October 5, 2017. This is a day to be part of our legislative process, a time to sit down with our leaders, share our stories, and ask for specific legislative action to raise awareness about eating disorders. The Eating Disorder Coalition (EDC) makes the process very easy for us by identifying legislative gaps, securing Congressional champions to lead initiatives, developing message training to help advocates understand the issue and what to expect in meetings, and schedules meetings for advocates like me with our elected officials. We spent the morning meeting our team members, message training, and then off to a busy day of scheduled meetings with Congressional Staff. Lobby Day is a time to meet colleagues throughout the nation - researchers, therapist, psychologists, individuals, and families, organizations large and small uniting our voices to present a unified message about eating disorders to our leaders as citizen advocates.
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The process of health and recovery is the responsibility of the individual. Tri-State Eating Disorder Resource Team is not a health care provider and does not give advice or treatment.