We Need More Eating Disorder Resources!!!
It's been so long since I've written but I cannot keep quiet about the current crisis going on in the Eating Disorder world. If you're wondering what I'm talking about, let me explain. With the Covid-19 pandemic, there has been an overwhelming increase in eating disorders in both youth and adults. This, in itself, is awful but even worse is that the limited resources that were already in place have decreased! Yes you read that right...there are less inpatient beds now than there were before.
Pre-covid, there were 4 places to go for inpatient eating disorder treatment that were OHIP covered - The Ottawa Hospital, The Toronto General Hospital, Credit Valley in Mississauga and 2 beds at Homewood in Guelph. While this may seem like a lot, it was not enough to meet the demands. Each place only had a handful of beds which created long wait lists where some people could expect to wait 6-9 months.
There are many reasons why people develop eating disorders but one common one is that the person uses the eating disorder to feel in control when everything else in their life feels chaotic and out of control. Enter the Covid-19 pandemic and it explains why there is such an exponential increase in eating disorders. Unfortunately, also because of Covid, all programs had to be revamped to accommodate and shift resources for Covid patients in the hospital. At times, programs also had to be temporarily shut down due to Covid outbreaks. So right there we already see a higher demand with an even shorter supply of services. This was already worrying.
Today, it was made public in the Toronto Star, that Credit Valley has shut down their inpatient beds for the moment due to staffing issues. We were already looking at extremely long wait lists everywhere and by losing these beds the lists and wait times will only get longer.
Eating Disorders are serious and deadly! We cannot afford to lose the already limited resources that we had. Why aren't more doctors and psychiatrists being trained in eating disorders? Why is the Ontario government not prioritizing this or allocating more funding for this? What can we do? Can all of the healthcare providers in the field (we are a small community) come together for a meeting to figure this out?
I wish I had the answers but sadly I don't. All I can do is continue supporting people who are struggling and continue advocating on their behalf. I promise you all that I will, so please continue to reach out and ask for help and support.