After the McGill Eating Disorder Program was fully defunded in 2017, students began advocating for eating disorder support services that were now lacking on campus. In 2019, the SSMU VP (Student Life) Sophia Esterle ran the first SSMU Eating Disorder Awareness Week and started regularly meeting with other invested students. As a response to the lack of resources and conversations around eating disorders and disordered eating on campus, VP Esterle and Paloma Hepler, along with several other students instrumental to the creation of the program, led a plan for the SSMU to start building much-needed support services.
This effort eventually grew into a resource centre to hold peer-support programs, raise awareness, and do advocacy work – the SSMU Eating Disorder Resource and Support Centre. The Eating Disorder Advocacy position was also created under the Student Life’s Mental Health portfolio to conduct advocacy and organize campaign work around eating disorders.
In March 2020, the SSMU Eating Disorder Resource and Support Centre officially became a fee-funded SSMU Service.
Don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any questions about eating disorders and disordered eating, or the services available, and want to know more.
Our services are run by students, for students. Our student volunteers have received training in active listening, peer mental health support, eating disorders and disordered eating, and anti-oppressive practices. Please note that these services do not substitute for support from licensed professionals and do not constitute therapeutic or psychological care. Below you’ll find details about each resource and exactly what you can expect from them.
These services are available to anyone – you do not have to be a McGill student to access them. Whether you have had any type of professional diagnosis, have any idea on how to label your current or past relationship with food, or would just like to ask questions and learn more about eating disorders and disordered eating, our resources are available. Take a look through the details below and reach out to us anytime.
The Eating Disorder Resource and Support Centre organizes support groups for individuals interested in having a space to discuss their experiences with eating disorders and disordered eating, as well as to hear about the experience of others. It’s important to note that this is not a therapeutic service, and is therefore not the equivalent of a therapy group. It is not run by licensed professionals, and does not provide participants with skills or advice. Our support groups serve as a space for discussion and sharing.
Our mandate means that we aim to provide our support group participants with anti-oppressive, non-directional, non-judgmental, inclusive, and confidential support.
Groups are facilitated by two trained volunteers. These volunteers have received extensive training in active listening, anti-oppression, trauma, and eating disorders and disordered eating. They are present in order to facilitate conversation.
JOINING A SUPPORT GROUP:
If you are interested in joining a support group, please contact the Centre by email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The SSMU Eating Disorder and Support Resource Centre offers a drop-in program specialized for eating disorders, free of charge. Volunteers, with an understanding of eating disorders and trained in non-judgemental support, are available to talk to or share a safe space with. Whether you would like to come and have lunch or talk about what you’re going through, anyone is welcome to drop by. The aim of this program is to create a space where everyone can feel comfortable sharing their experiences, and feel validated in doing so.
This peer support service is not licensed therapy; it is an active listening program by volunteers who are able to provide support and comfort to those who feel ready to receive such. The focus is on the individual as a whole, not the eating disorder itself. The drop-in was created for those who may or may not be ready for therapy, on a wait-list for recovery programs, are already in treatment but need additional support, and anyone interested in receiving this kind of support.
SSMU’s Eating Disorder and Resource Centre will offer a confidential and anonymous listening program once the necessary infrastructure and training has been developed. McGill students will be able to connect to the line for support tailored specifically to eating disorders by understanding and non-judgemental volunteers. As with our other services, this support will be non-therapeutic and student based.
The Centre is consulting with a number of McGill and SSMU departments to assess their knowledge of eating disorders as well as their deficiencies in support. Please fill out this survey below and send an email to email@example.com if you’d like to get more involved!
The Centre aims to pressure the McGill administration to provide more resources and assistance to eating disorder support on campus. We also plan to develop eating disorder awareness workshops for various McGill departments.
We are acutely aware of the lack of resources available to universities for mental health care, and are aiming to conduct more research on provincial resources as well as legislation around care. Once completed, we will compile and share a listing of those resources to other schools in the province, as well as work together to pressure the provincial government to allocate more resources and change legislation – more details to come!
We are in the process of advocating for specialized, accessible on-campus support for students struggling with eating disorders and disordered eating. We want students’ perspectives on what works, what doesn’t, and what they’d like to see in the future! Please fill out our Eating Disorders Campaign survey if you would like to share your feedback on on-campus and off-campus resources as well as any thoughts on how the SSMU and McGill Student Services should address the prevalence of eating disorders and disordered eating amongst students. For more information, or to get involved with the campaign, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.