Community Health

Funding level: Up to $50,000


Eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of any mental illness and typically first manifest in the adolescent years, yet there are few to no supports available for this demographic. We know that many youth are engaging in dangerous restrictive dieting, purging, experiencing poor body image, high levels of anxiety, and depression. These are all warning signs for eating disorders. Research shows early intervention can make a huge difference in recovery rates, so having professional supports available could literally save lives.

For the past three years, the Eating Disorder Support Network of Alberta ( has been providing professionally-facilitated, low-cost support groups for parents /partners and for adults impacted by eating disorders. We have been collecting data on the impact and efficacy of our support groups and it has been consistently positive. But until now, EDSNA has not provided support programming those under the age of 18. Our Board of Directors wants to reach out to this vulnerable population and help them find the treatment, resources and support they need to achieve full physical and mental health.

Offering support to vulnerable youth that is accessible, non-stigmatising, effective and inclusive is critical. We propose to offer professionally-facilitated support at schools in Edmonton that have already identified disordered eating as a problem for their student population. Working with these partner schools, EDSNA would pilot a series of support groups to learn more about this demographic and how to best serve their needs. The support groups would be free of charge and open to any student who is experiencing disordered eating, compulsive exercising, poor body image, self-harm or an eating disorder.

As well, EDSNA would offer training to school staff to enrich their understanding of eating disorders and build local capacity on how best to support their students and create a school culture that can help prevent eating disorders. EDSNA would also offer an introductory workshop for parents and caregivers to help them understand our aims for the support groups, confidentiality, and answering any questions they may have. We would also provide guidance on how to encourage positive body image and healthy eating at home.

After completion of this project and review of the findings, EDSNA plans to expand services for the under 18 population in Calgary and online, either via our current video conferencing platform or some other platform that works for youth.

This project would meet a need in the community that is not currently being addressed and allow EDSNA to play a meaningful role in the prevention of eating disorders, through early identification, education and support.

Broker supported

Eating Disorder Support Network of Alberta (EDSNA)

Location: Edmonton