Since 1997, the BridgePoint Center for Eating Disorders has been serving the province with programs to offer hope for those with eating disorders. As a part of Saskatchewan's Eating Disorder Awareness Week, the centre is taking this opportunity to spread to word of this mental disease.
It all started in 1993 when the Milden hospital closed. However before closing, there were extensive renovations done to the building. With the community not wanting the facility to go to waste, it was given to the Milden Venture Corporation. This cooperation set up the centre as a three year pilot project in which the government would provide two-thirds of the funding and the Milden community would need to raise the remaining amount. After fundraising was completed, the BridgePoint Center was established.
One of the most important things that the BridgePoint facility teaches, is that eating disorders don't discriminate.
"Anyone can suffer from an ED, regardless of age, race, socioeconomic status, or gender," Carla Chabot, Executive Director of BridgePoint, stated in an email. "A person who has an eating disorder often feels high levels of shame, embarrassment, confusion, and denial. It's time to stop the stigma -- we can do this by increasing awareness and education through conversations."
According to Carla, research has shown that having the correct information and gaining the right education about eating disorders can help prevent one from developing.
"It's of great importance that parents, teachers, healthcare workers, sport and fitness coaches, government departments, and media associations seek to deepen our level of understanding about eating disorders." she stated.
Some studies suggest that between 150,000 and 600,000 people across Canada are affected by eating disorders. Other studies suggest that anywhere from half a million to a million Canadians meet the diagnostic criteria for an eating disorder at any given time. What most people don't know, is that eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of all mental disorders.
The goal of the awareness week is to reduce the anorexia, bulimia, dieting, and body image issues through public education. According to their website, BridgePoint is one of a kind and the only publicly funded residential program for eating disorders in Saskatchewan.
"BridgePoint is truly a hidden gem in rural Saskatchewan," Carla added. "It might be a small town, but the impact of what is happening here is huge."
If you would like to learn more about BridgePoint, visit www.bridgepointcenter.ca