TORONTO, April 10, 2013 /CNW/ - Having strong mentors, being able to have difficult conversations with family and friends and therapy are among some of the critical elements in recovery for individuals affected by eating disorders, according to Sophie Grégoire-Trudeau, former national television host and yoga instructor. Today, Grégoire-Trudeau shared her insights at the 12th annual Sheena's Place Awareness Breakfast, presented by Scotiabank, to support Sheena's Place, a community-based registered charity that 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.
"Silence not only leaves you speechless, but helpless and it is our duty, as parents or friends, to have the awkward conversations concerning mental health and eating disorders — our mothers' and daughters' lives depend on it," said Grégoire-Trudeau, who has faced her own experiences with eating disorders. "Every individual suffering from an eating disorder is different, and a multi-disciplinary, therapeutic approach is essential for full recovery. Family support, dialogue in our society, increased awareness on this matter globally and ongoing research, including on topics such as epigenetics, are all essential to prevention and recovery."
The 12th annual Sheena's Place Awareness Breakfast, presented by Scotiabank, was attended by some 300 supporters and was hosted by Global Toronto's Health Specialist, Beatrice Politi. The event is Sheena's Place's largest annual fundraiser and aims to increase awareness of the support programs it provides for those affected by eating disorders and bring attention to latest research.
"Scotiabank is honoured to support Sheena's Place, a local Toronto organization that helps keep our community strong," said Arlene Russell, Senior Vice President of Shared Services at Scotiabank and Sheena's Place Board Vice-Chair, as well as this year's Awareness Breakfast Event Chair. "Health and wellness are a big part of Scotiabank's Bright Future philanthropic program. Through it, we respond to community needs at a grassroots level because that's where we believe we can make the most impact."
During her address, Grégoire-Trudeau spoke about the important role that mentors played in her own recovery, emphasizing that having a safe person or place to go is essential in treatment.
"Grégoire-Trudeau reinforced today that those who are affected by eating disorders don't have to face it alone," says Joanna Anderson, Program Director for Sheena's Place. "At Sheena's Place, we offer a safe place where individuals and their loved ones can come for support and resources. Having the support of Grégoire-Trudeau and an organization like Scotiabank helps us get that message out."
Anderson shared a heart-wrenching story during the breakfast of a mother who sought Sheena's Place's support to help her 10-year-old son recover from anorexia nervosa.
"Stigma continues to be a barrier to seeking help, especially for men, in a society where eating disorders are viewed as being a woman's illness," adds Anderson. "Research has shown us that men represent one in three new eating disorder cases, but only two per cent of clients at Sheena's Place are men. There is still much more to do in raising awareness."
About Sophie Grégoire-Trudeau
Former national television host and media personality Sophie Grégoire-Trudeau has hosted and contributed to a variety of television and radio shows in Quebec and across Canada. A true inspiration to community volunteers everywhere, Sophie has been the spokesperson and guest speaker for many causes, focusing on those related to women and children. She has lent her voice to organizations such as the Dove "Pay Beauty Forward" Program, Girls for the Cure, the Weekend to End Breast Cancer, the Women's Heart and Stroke Association, The Canadian Cancer Association, The Vagina Monologues, WaterCan and the Canadian Mental Health Association. Sophie is a national ambassador for Plan Canada's "Because I am a Girl" initiative and the official spokesperson for the Shield of Athena, a non-profit organization for women and children who are victims of domestic abuse. Sophie attended the 2010 Governor General's Women's Conference and recently hosted the United Nations-Women Canada luncheon in Ottawa.
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 $47 million annually to community causes around the world over each of the last five years. Visit us at www.scotiabank.com.
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.
Image with caption: "Breakfast chair Arlene Russell, left; guest speaker Sophie- Gregoire-Trudeau, centre; and program director for Sheena's Place Joanna Anderson, right, poses for a photo at the 12th annual Sheena's Place Breakfast presented by Scotiabank on Wednesday, April 10, 2013. The Toronto-based organization supports individuals living with eating disorders and their families. (Photo By: Michelle for CNW) (CNW Group/Scotiabank)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20130410_C3300_PHOTO_EN_25393.jpg
Image with caption: "Guest speaker Sophie- Gregoire-Trudeau, wife of Liberal Party leader candidate Justin Trudeau, pauses as she speaks about her own struggles with eating disorders to approximately 300 supporters at the 12th annual Sheena's Place Breakfast presented by Scotiabank on Wednesday, April 10, 2013. The Toronto-based organization supports individuals living with eating disorders and their families. (Photo By: Michelle for CNW) (CNW Group/Scotiabank)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20130410_C3300_PHOTO_EN_25395.jpg
Image with caption: "Guest speaker Sophie- Gregoire-Trudeau kisses her husband Liberal Party Leader candidate Justin Trudeau at the 12th annual Sheena's Place Breakfast presented by Scotiabank on Wednesday, April 10, 2013. The Toronto-based organization supports individuals living with eating disorders and their families. (Photo By: Michelle for CNW) (CNW Group/Scotiabank)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20130410_C3300_PHOTO_EN_25397.jpg
For further information:
Nadine Jahangir, Scotiabank Media Communications, 416-933-2927,