On-campus support programs piloted at four Toronto schools
TORONTO, Feb. 10, 2012 /CNW/ - Those affected by eating disorders
possess a genetic predisposition which when "switched on" by cultural
factors, triggers the onset of the illness according to Dr. Howard
Steiger, Director, Eating Disorders Program at the Douglas Institute
and Professor of Psychiatry at McGill University. Today Dr. Steiger
offered his findings at the 11th Annual Sheena's Place Awareness Breakfast, presented by Scotiabank in
support of Sheena's Place. Sheena's Place, a community-based registered
charity, offers hope and support to individuals, families and friends
affected by eating disorders by providing a wide range of
professionally facilitated support groups and services.
"Eating disorders show us how problems of adjustment often involve a
collision between genetic susceptibilities and environmental
pressures," said Dr. Steiger. "One of the pressures, in this case, is
the social pressure to be thin. We're starting to make some headway in
unraveling the genetic part."
In his address Dr. Steiger also emphasized that through the years there
has been a shift in how we understand the causes of eating disorders
and treatment approaches have evolved accordingly.
"Dr. Steiger's remarks underscore that not one, but various causes are
often at the root of an individual's struggle with an eating disorder.
At Sheena's Place we provide these individuals and their caregivers
with support in the form of individual information interviews and
support groups tailored for individuals or families and friends. These
free services are available within 72 hours of first contact and 24/7
on our website," said Lee Giles, Executive Director of Sheena's Place.
In addition to services offered at their downtown location, Sheena's
Place recently introduced piloting support groups for students on four
campuses in collaboration with The University of Toronto, Ryerson
University, York University and Seneca College. The professionally
facilitated support groups are provided through support from the Vital
Toronto Fund at the Toronto Community Foundation.
"We are thrilled to be able to bring support closer to the student
population," said Sue Banting, Sheena's Place Board Chair. "I have
always wished that student help could be made available. Now, students
affected by eating disorders will have improved access to vital support
right on their own campuses by signing up at their on-campus counseling
"The 11th Annual Sheena's Place Awareness Breakfast, presented by Scotiabank,
capped off Eating Disorders Awareness Week which began on February 5,
2012, and runs through February 11, 2012. CTV Toronto's Andria Case
hosted the event attended by 350 supporters.
"Health care is an important focus of Scotiabank's Bright Future
community giving program, and as one of Canada's largest employers, we
are also committed to wellness," said Arlene Russell, Senior
Vice-President and Head of Shared Services at Scotiabank and Sheena's
Place board member. "Sheena's Place supports Toronto by providing
much-needed health and wellness services to community members affected
by eating disorders and Scotiabank is proud to continue supporting
their incredible work."
Carrie Cox de los Santos, a former Sheena's Place client, bravely shared
her story of her battle with an eating disorder and her journey to
living a recovered life. Her message was clear: seek help and seek it
"Eating disorders take away your voice. Sheena's Place helped me find
it again so that I was able to recover from anorexia nervosa. I would
not be here, standing before you as a wife, an elementary teacher, a
PhD candidate, a daughter, and a mother-to-be without the support of
Sheena's Place," said Mrs. Cox de los Santos. "Sheena's Place provides
clients with weekly support groups, reliable information, a safe space
to begin healing and, most importantly, hope. It gives you back the
possibility of truly living your life."
About Howard Steiger
Howard Steiger is Director of the Eating Disorders Program (EDP) of the
Douglas University Institute in Mental Health, Professor of Psychiatry
at McGill University and Associate Member in Psychology at McGill. He
is an active clinician, researcher, and teacher, and has published
numerous clinical, scientific and theoretical articles and book
chapters on the Eating Disorders (EDs). Steiger directs the only
large-scale, specialized program for the treatment of adults suffering
eating disorders in the Province of Quebec, a program offering a full
range of Inpatient, Day Hospital/Day Program and Outpatient treatments.
Steiger is a recent Past President of the Eating Disorders Research
Society (2007-2008) and past Board and Executive-Committee member of
the Academy for Eating Disorders (AED: 2007-2009). He is currently
Co-President of the Quebec Government's committee to develop a "Charter
for Healthy and Diversified Body Images". He was recipient, in 2010, of
the Academy for Eating Disorders' Leadership Award for Clinical,
Educational or Administrative Service.
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, 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, over 1,100 people attended
support groups and over 300 attended individual information interviews.
In response to the over 160,000 site specific visits to their website,
Sheena's Place developed an eLearning module for parents coping with a
young adult with an eating disorder. 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.
Scotiabank is committed to supporting the communities in which we live
and work, both in Canada and abroad, through our global philanthropic
program, Scotiabank Bright Future. Recognized as a leader
internationally and among Canadian corporations for our charitable
donations and philanthropic activities, Scotiabank has provided on
average approximately $45 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
Kara Merpaw, Scotiabank Media Communications, 416-866-3792
Lee Giles, Executive Director Sheena's Place, 416-927-8900 ext. 23