A Decade of Progress: Scotiabank Presents the 10th Annual Sheena's Place Awareness Breakfast

Leading Toronto Doctor, Dr. Debra Katzman highlights progress in better understanding and dealing with eating disorders.

TORONTO, Feb. 11 /CNW/ - The Canadian medical community has come a long way in the last decade in understanding the complex nature of eating disorders in children and adolescents, according to Dr. Debra Katzman, Medical Director of the Eating Disorders Program at The Hospital for Sick Children. Today Dr. Katzman offered her findings at the 10th Annual Sheena's Place Awareness Breakfast, presented by Scotiabank in support of Sheena's Place. Sheena's Place is a community-based registered charity that offers a comprehensive program of professionally facilitated support groups that give individuals with eating disorders and their families, friends and partners, a safe place to receive hope and support.

"Over the past 10 years, we have begun to make great strides in our understanding of child and adolescent eating disorders. Eating disorders in children and adolescents are now recognized as common, serious disorders with significant morbidity and mortality. Early recognition and aggressive treatment of this population can result in full recovery," Dr. Katzman said.

In her address to a crowd of about 400 people, Dr. Katzman emphasized that eating disorders are indiscriminate and can happen in any family. She also explored ten years of progress in the identification, treatment and prevention of eating disorders in children and adolescents. Some key findings were that boys are affected by eating disorders in increasing numbers; that current diagnostic criteria is being revised to reflect the complexity of individual cases; that the prevalence of eating disorders in younger children is increasing; and that individuals with eating disorders are ten times more likely to die than healthy individuals of the same age.

"Dr. Katzman's remarks are a reminder that parents are key in unraveling the problem and need access to treatment, information and support. The latter is the specialty of Sheena's Place - with individual information interviews and support groups specifically for parents and families, we provide community-based services available within 72 hours of first contact and 24/7 on our website," said Lee Giles, Executive Director of Sheena's Place.

Mr. Jim Cerswell, a father, learned firsthand of the devastation and destruction an eating disorder causes. He bravely shared his personal journey through his daughter's battle with anorexia nervosa. His poignant reflection was a message to all parents and families: it can happen to anyone and there are resources out there for support.

"As a parent who has lost a child to this horrible illness I have learned much on my journey. It is not as simple as getting your child to eat, this illness distorts the mind, body and soul, and can wreak havoc on a family's life. That's why hope and support are definitely needed," said Mr. Cerswell. "Sheena's Place offers this critical hope and support by providing weekly support groups, education, awareness, and a safe place for healing. I know of no other place that offers so much to so many, all at no cost to the consumer." 

The 10th Annual Sheena's Place Awareness Breakfast, presented by Scotiabank, caps off Eating Disorders Awareness Week which began on February 6, 2011, and runs through February 12, 2011.

"Health care and social services are two of the major pillars of 'Scotiabank Bright Future', the Bank's global philanthropic giving program," said Sylvia Chrominska, Group Head, Global Human Resources and Communications, Scotiabank. "Our continued support of Sheena's Place reflects the important work this organization is doing in the community. We are proud to support Sheena's Place and the valuable programs of hope and healing that they provide to those affected by eating disorders."

About Dr. Katzman
Dr. Debra Katzman is a Professor of Pediatrics, Head of the Division of Adolescent Medicine, Department of Pediatrics and University of Toronto, Medical Director of the Eating Disorders Program at The Hospital for Sick Children and Senior Associate Scientist at the Research Institute at The Hospital for Sick Children. Dr. Katzman is also the President of the Academy for Eating Disorders (AED), and has co-edited a book entitled: "Help for Eating Disorders: A Parent's Guide to Symptoms, Causes and Treatments".

About Sheena's Place
Centrally located in downtown Toronto, Sheena's Place is a community-based registered charity that offers a comprehensive program of support groups that give individuals with eating disorders and their families a safe place to give and receive support. These support groups nourish hope and provide courage for individuals to carry on with dignity and humour, making choices about their own path to recovery. No referral is necessary and we respect the need and desire for confidentiality. Our programs are offered at no cost to participants and can be accessed within 72 hours of first contact. In 1996 Sheena's Place opened and offered groups to 65 clients. Last year, with no change in budget, over 1,300 people attended support groups and over 300 attended individual information interviews. We are able to provide these free services thanks to the generosity and financial support of individuals, corporations, foundations, and the proceeds from our special events.

About Scotiabank
Scotiabank is committed to supporting the communities in which we live and work, both in Canada and abroad, through our global philanthropic program, 'Bright Future'.  Recognized as a leader internationally and among Canadian corporations for our charitable donations and philanthropic activities, Scotiabank has provided on average approximately $44 million annually to community causes around the world over each of the last five years. Visit us at www.scotiabank.com.

SOURCE Scotiabank - Sponsorships

For further information:

Deborah Clark, Scotiabank Media Communications, 416-933-0646 deborah_clark@scotiacapital.com

Karen Heath, Scotiabank Media Communications, 416-866-7238 karen_heath@scotiacapital.com

Lee Giles, Executive Director Sheena's Place, 416-927-8900 ext 23 lgiles@sheenasplace.org


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