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NIED welcomes new Board members as it launches new decade

The National Initiative for Eating Disorders (NIED) has spent a decade educating and taking action on behalf of those impacted by Eating Disorders, a highly stigmatized and misunderstood mental illness. As it marks its 10-year milestone and proceeds into the next decade, NIED is proud to welcome new members to its Board of Directors. New Board Chair Lorne Bernstein took over the helm as the Board’s new chair on February 17th. He is an active volunteer, having participated with a diverse range of not-for-profit organizations in a variety of roles from committee member to board chair and president. Lorne comes to NIED through lived family experience and understands the challenges posed by society – from the lack of public awareness and support at all levels, to the personal impact on the family and caregivers alike. “I am honoured and delighted to serve as the Chair of NIED, as we commemorate our 10th year, says Bernstein. “As Chair, I am but one of a dedicated community of passionate volunteers focused on supporting those living with Eating Disorders and those who care for them, while further broadening the public awareness of the personal and societal impact that Eating Disorders have on the community at large.” New members of NIED’s Board of Directors Francie Greenspoon B.A. (Psychology) DIRECTOR Francie has over 30 years’ experience in communications and public relations, with her last engagement as the Director of Communications for the Jewish Federation of Ottawa, and prior to that as a Communications Officer with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. Francie comes to NIED through lived experience with a loved one. She is committed to raising awareness and understanding about Eating Disorders and enthusiastically supports NIED in its efforts to improve services and outcomes for all those challenged by Eating Disorders. Karen Flello B.A., B.Ed., M.Ed. DIRECTOR Karen is a passionate educator who has worked as a high-school teacher, a K – 12 principal, and, most recently, with the B.C. Ministry of Education. Karen’s dedication to causes connected to mental health and resilience stem from her professional experiences supporting children and youth, but even more importantly from her experience as a support and caregiver for her sister, Michelle Stewart, who lived with her Eating Disorder for more than 30 years before succumbing to organ failure in May 2014. Karen, along with Michelle’s partner, Kirk Mason, published a book of Michelle’s blog posts, Shell: One Woman’s Final Year After a Lifelong Struggle with Anorexia and Bulimia, the proceeds from which have supported organizations like NIED. Karen remains dedicated to efforts to end the stigma associated with Eating Disorders and to support education and recovery for those with lived experience and their caregivers. Elissa Matulus Myers CAE, IOM, MD DIRECTOR Elissa Myers is an innovative and creative association executive, specializing in developing great leadership and clear strategic and tactical direction for associations. She most recently served as Executive Director, and ex-officio member of the Board of Directors, of the Academy for Eating Disorders in the United States, a global professional association committed to leadership in Eating Disorders research, education, treatment, and prevention. She is passionately committed to bringing to reality the Vision of global access to knowledge, research and best treatment practice for Eating Disorders for everyone, and to the fight to promote the use of empirical evidence in the treatment of Eating Disorders. With 40+ years’ experience as a professional association executive, Elissa has specific experience in staff and volunteer development and leadership, strategic and tactical planning, membership development and retention, member benefits development and marketing, effective internal and external communications, advocacy and public & media relations. She is frequently called upon as a speaker/lecturer on association management, is the author, editor, and or publisher of numerous articles and publications. Elissa has spent her career walking the talk on volunteering. Among her exceptional volunteer leadership positions, she has served as a member of the U.S.’s National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) Partners Task Force, and as a member of the Joint Commission Task Force on in-patient Eating Disorder treatment. Morris Robinson B.COM. CPA.CA. TREASURER Morris is a registered life member of The Chartered Professional Accountants of Ontario. A career businessman and previous owner of one of Canada’s largest jewellery manufacturing companies. He was elected Chairman of The Canadian Jewellery Association after heading up its Government Affairs committee which lobbied for and oversaw the elimination of the federal excise tax on jewellery. As well he has served as a board member of other associations and was a founding director and the first treasurer of The Diamond Bourse of Canada. Morris is a devoted husband, father of three sons and grandfather of nine. He is excited to be given the opportunity to use his professional skill and experience to assist NIED in meeting its worthy objectives. NIED launches GoFundMe campaign to raise $10,000 To commemorate its 10-year milestone and continue its work raising awareness about Eating Disorders, NIED has set up a GoFundME campaign with the goal of raising $10,000. To donate to NIED’s GoFundMe campaign, please click here. For further information, please contact: Lynne Koss Co-Founder/Vice President National Initiative for Eating Disorders – NIED Twitter: @nied_ca Facebook: 416-843-3496

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NIED marks 10-year milestone as a leader in fostering Education, Understanding & Action for Eating Disorders in Canada

On February 22, 2012 the National Initiative for Eating Disorders (NIED) officially launched with a 30 second spot on Global Television. Within an hour they received their first call from a family whose daughter died by suicide as a result of her Eating Disorder. The calls have not stopped since that day. This February 22, NIED will mark its 10-year milestone as one of the leaders in raising Education, Understanding and Action for Eating Disorders in Canada – a decade filled with many milestones for Eating Disorders in Canada. NIED is a totally volunteer-run organization that has facilitated 76 free educational symposia with expert speakers and courageous individuals sharing lived experiences. They tirelessly advocated to get Eating Disorders on all mental health agendas provincially and federally and raised awareness within Health Canada, the Public Health Agency of Canada, Stats Canada and the Mental Health Commission of Canada. “NIED is by far one of the most influential organizations in the field of Eating Disorders advocacy in the country. Their work is unparalleled, their reach expansive, and their commitment to breaking down barriers has led to much-needed changes in a system poorly equipped to treat Eating Disorders. They are tireless advocates, fierce leaders and visionaries.”… Dr. Anita Federici. PH.D C.PSYCH NIED became an active member of the Canadian Alliance on Mental Illness and Mental Health (CAMIMH), one of 13 national mental health organizations representing Eating Disorders nationwide. A turning point for Eating Disorders in Canada came in 2016 when NIED hosted a meeting with the Canadian Eating Disorders community that inspired an alliance between four national organizations – the Canadian Eating Disorders Association – L’Association des troubles alimentaires du Canada (EDAC-ATAC), the Eating Disorders Foundation of Canada (EDFC), the National Eating Disorder Information Centre (NEDIC) and NIED. Over 450 organizations identified six priorities: Prevention, Public Education and Awareness, Treatment, Caregiver Support, Training and Research and this group went on to develop the first-ever Canadian Eating Disorders Strategy – a 10-year blueprint for change that launched in November 2019. NIED has played a vital role in World Eating Disorders Action Day in conjunction with 160 countries whose mission is to unite activists across the globe to expand global awareness of Eating Disorders as genetically linked, treatable illnesses that can affect anyone. Many of the initiatives Canada developed have become a worldwide template. NIED’s Hand Knit Hope Program has brought caregiver knitters together to make more than 800 items, that provide comfort and hope to those impacted with Eating Disorders, which were donated to spread warmth to Eating Disorders programs and other organizations locally and in eight provinces. NIED is a totally volunteer run organization whose strength is the passion and dedication of their volunteers. “As a nutrition student wanting to learn more about Eating Disorders in Canada, I looked no further than NIED,” says Olivia – one of NIED’s dedicated volunteers…”Being a volunteer with NIED was a powerful experience because I was constantly reminded that we were making a difference.” And most recently, NIED, in collaboration with 30 partners, will conduct a study that will include researchers, scientists, physicians, healthcare professionals, people with lived experience and policy makers to provide a clear empirically-driven synopsis of the total economic burden (including a psycho-social cost breakdown) that Eating Disorders impose on the Canadian Economy. The Economic Burden Study, as it is referred to, is the first of its kind in Canada. Key anticipated outcomes include recommendations for post-pandemic care to inform policy development, the allocation of funding for both community and hospital-based services, and recommendations for actions required to better support the recovery of those challenged by this serious mental illness. NIED is also part of a national working group collaborating on unifying messaging for Eating Disorders Awareness Week (EDAW) from February 1st to 7th, an event whereby organizations across the country host local events, light up notable landmarks in purple, and engage in public education campaigns to generate greater awareness about Eating Disorders. The week helps educate about the impact of Eating Disorders, dispels the myths and stigmas associated with them and illuminates the tremendous gaps in funding and services, with the ultimate goal of motivating those decision makers in positions of influence to provide, among other things, better and more affordable prevention and treatment options, enhanced training for professionals and greater support for caregivers. It has been a momentous 10 years but there is so much more that needs to be done. “Thanks to all our passionate volunteers who have worked tirelessly to get NIED where we are today,” says Wendy Preskow, NIED’s president and founder. “Ten years ago I could never have imagined the respect and support we have received from experts across the country who work alongside us. We began with the aim to create Awareness, Understanding, and Action for Eating Disorders. Now, as we enter our next decade, we look forward to amplifying our mission as change-makers and collaborators on behalf of all those touched by Eating Disorders…whether personally or professionally.” For further information, please contact: Lynne Koss Co-Founder/Vice President National Initiative for Eating Disorders – NIED Twitter: @nied_ca Facebook: 416-843-3496

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Hand Knit Hope program provides warmth to lives in need 

The National Initiative for Eating Disorder’s (NIED’s) beloved Hand Knit Hope program and its mighty army of caregiver knitters, has been hard at work knitting and crocheting hats, scarves, headbands and neck warmers to provide warmth to those in need while also helping to educate about Eating Disorders as a way to give back on Giving Tuesday, 2021. This year, more than 400 items were lovingly crafted and donated to five different Eating Disorder organizations across Canada including the Bulimia Anorexia Nervosa Association (Ontario), Credit Valley Hospital Eating Disorders Program (Ontario), BridgePoint Center for Eating Disorders (Saskatchewan), and the Silver Linings Foundation (Calgary). Now in its 10th year, Hand Knit Hope was initiated by a NIED volunteer who discovered the therapeutic benefits of knitting and crocheting while in treatment for an Eating Disorder. She subsequently pitched NIED founder, Wendy Preskow, the idea of forming knitting circles of caregivers supporting people impacted with an Eating Disorder. Before you could say “knit 1 and purl 2”, caregivers were knitting and/or crocheting items to distribute to treatment centres, support groups and anyone on their Eating Disorder recovery journey who needed a bit of warmth and love on their path to wellness. “NIED’s Hand Knit Hope program warms our hearts knowing that donating these items will keep someone a little warmer during the colder days ahead,” says NIED founder Wendy Preskow. “This program began as a way for caregivers to support individuals impacted by Eating Disorders who were in treatment or attending support groups.” This year, Hand Knit Hope extended its reach by donating to the Barbara Schlifer Clinic which offers legal, counselling and interpretation services to marginalized and racialized populations of women who have survived violence and the Stop and Out of the Cold Programs. An estimated 2.7 million Canadians would meet the diagnostic criteria for an Eating Disorder. Eating Disorders have the highest death rate of any mental illness with 1 in 10 people dying from their disorder. Eating Disorders affect all genders, ages, racial/ethnic identities, sexual orientations and socio-economic backgrounds. NIED assists people cope with the effects of Eating Disorders by providing access to educational, informational and other recovery-oriented resources related to the prevention and treatment of Eating Disorders and related mental illnesses in Canada. Anyone interested in participating or in need of a warm item, please contact Kay Epstein and Rohna Lubner get cozy amidst over 400 items lovingly crafted for Hand Knit Hope 2021, to raise awareness for Eating Disorders as part of Giving Tuesday. For further information, please contact: Lynne Koss Co-Founder/Vice President National Initiative for Eating Disorders – NIED Twitter: @nied_ca 416-843-3496

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