Monday, February 6, 2023 - The Manitoba government is investing $224,667 to expand capacity at the Child and Adolescent Eating Disorders Program at Health Sciences Centre Winnipeg (HSC), improving access and reducing waits for young patients, Mental Health and Community Wellness Minister Janice Morley-Lecomte announced today during Manitoba’s inaugural Eating Disorders Awareness Week.
“Eating disorders and disordered eating can have serious physical, psychological and social consequences,” said Morley-Lecomte. “Our government continues to take concrete action to ensure Manitobans whose lives are affected by eating disorders and disordered eating have timely access to the resources and supports that meet their diverse needs.”
The investment will be used to hire a nurse therapist and social worker to support up to 80 additional families every year in the hospital-based program. This new funding, as well as more than $910,000 in newly annualized funding from the Manitoba government for other eating disorders programs, provides a total investment of more than $1.1 million announced today for treatment of eating disorders.
In addition to the new funds for the Child and Adolescent Eating Disorders Program at HSC, the Manitoba government is investing $610,000 in ongoing annual funding for an expansion of HSC’s Adult Eating Disorders Program.
As well, more than $300,000 in continuing annual funding will support the Provincial Eating Disorder Prevention and Recovery Program (PEDPRP) at Women’s Health Clinic, which offers outpatient, community-based treatment including individual and group therapy in addition to dietitian services.
“Eating disorders have a significant and devastating impact on a person’s physical, social, academic, vocational and psychological well-being. They affect families, friends and loved ones, and have little regard for gender, age or socioeconomic status,” said Dr. Louis Ludwig, medical director, Adult Eating Disorders Program, HSC Winnipeg. “Today’s investments will greatly help to provide Manitobans with better access to programs and supports, enabling them to get the help they need from our dedicated care teams.”
The minister added the funding announced today builds upon the Manitoba government’s previous investments to enhance and expand evidence-based eating disorder services, as recommended in the 2018 report Improving Access and Coordination of Mental Health and Addictions Services: A Provincial Strategy for All Manitobans (VIRGO report). The VIRGO report included 125 evidence-based recommendations for improving access to and co-ordination of mental health and addictions services.
In July 2020, the Manitoba government invested to increase capacity at HSC’s Adult Eating Disorders Program and to develop a nutrition clinic that provides meal supports for inpatients and individuals receiving care in the community. There is currently no wait time to access the nutrition clinic, the minister noted.
In October 2021, an additional $303,000 in annual funding was committed through a COVID-19 emergency expenditure to reduce wait times at the PEDPRP.
“The child and adolescent eating disorder program is integral to the delivery of comprehensive eating disorder treatment and therapy for our children and youth,” said Elaine Stevenson, co-founder, Alyssa Stevenson Eating Disorder Memorial Trust. “The important addition of a nurse therapist and social worker will allow this program to expand services and reach out to a greater number of Manitoba families. As a parent it is heartbreaking to watch your child suffer. But with early intervention and expert treatment, hope and recovery can be attainable.”
Eating Disorders Awareness Week, Feb. 1 to 7, is focused on increasing awareness of the impact of eating disorders and resources available to help.
“People of any age, gender or identity can suffer from eating disorders and disordered eating,” said Morley-Lecomte. “In addition to ensuring Manitobans have equitable access to the health-care supports they need, our government is committed to increasing public understanding and dispelling stereotypes about eating disorders.”
For more information on mental health services, visit https://www.gov.mb.ca/mh/mh/crisis.html.