The provincial government has announced $1.1 million to expand counselling services for a foundation that helps people with eating disorders.
Announced ahead of World Eating Disorders Action Day this Friday (June 2), the provincial funding is for Looking Glass Foundation to expand its programs and services to help people throughout B.C. who are affected by eating disorders and disordered eating. A release Thursday notes the $1.1 million could help bring on 10 to 15 practicum students per year, each providing about 40 hours of individual counselling per month for as many as 100 clients.
Looking Glass executive director Lisa Brooks says “more people than ever before are struggling with eating disorders – people of every age, gender, size – from every corner” of B.C. the funding is crucial to increase access to affordable counselling support.
Counselling is available to all B.C. residents and can be done in person or online based on the person’s preference or location. The foundation’s website says its Bridge the Gap program is $35 an hour, and a small number of bursaries may be available.
Looking Glass provides one-to-one eating disorder therapeutic counselling by practicum students, who are supervised by an eating-disorder therapist.
Mental Health Minister Jennifer Whiteside said when people make the important decision to reach out for help, “it’s important that the right services are available to answer the call.”
The government release points to the COVID-19 pandemic causing an increase in the number and severity of eating disorder cases, with anorexia nervosa the leading cause of death for young women between the ages of 15 and 24.
About one million Canadians meet the diagnostic criteria for an eating disorder, which have the highest overall morality rate of any mental illness with estimates between 10 and 15 per cent.
The funding is part of B.C.’s A Pathway to Hope, which is the provincial government’s plan to build an integrated system of mental-health and addictions care “that is equitable to everyone in the province.”
More information on the program can be found at lookingglassbc.com.