20% of College students have stated that they either have or previously had an eating disorder, according to a survey done by the Multi-Service Eating Disorders Association. In the same survey done 15% of women between the ages of 17 and 24 stated they had an eating disorder.
There are many different types of eating disorders. The most common are Anorexia Nervosa, Binge Eating Disorder, and Bulimia Nervosa. Although these disorders are common issues students face across the nation, treatment for them is expensive. And unfortunately, due to a lack of insurance coverage, many go untreated. Insurance coverage of eating disorder treatment, whether inpatient or outpatient, is one of the many issues the University of Miami’s chapter of the The Project Heal hopes to tackle. Many companies only consider eating disorders coverable, when a person’s weight drop become a serious medical issue. But according to Danielle Lowe, President of The Project Heal at the University of Miami, gaining the weight is half the battle.
“I thought it was healthy at first, and then it went south and became an addiction, and a way of coping with depression, and other things going on in my life at the time,” said Natasha Snapper, Vice President of UM’s chapter of The Project Heal, on her struggles with an eating disorder in High School. In addition to fundraising, the organization is committed to creating a safe space, where students can come for guidance, as many of the students involved in the organization have themselves faced eating disorders in the past.
The Project Heal is a national organization dedicated to providing grants for those with eating disorders, who cannot afford treatment, as well as promoting overall healthy body images. According to the New York Times, “a residential program costs $30,000 a month on average. And many patients require three or more months of treatment.” But the cost does not end there, many seek outpatient therapy to continue their road to recovery. Without The Project Heal, many would go untreated due to the lack of insurance coverage. Three times a year, The Project Heal opens up grant applications, for those who they believe are motivated and want to recover.
“Eating disorders don’t have a certain face, they can affect girls and guys, of any size,” said Danielle Lowe. As a chapter of the national organization, The Project Heal on campus works toward raising awareness on eating disorders, and the reality that eating disorders can affect anyone. This year the club will be raising money through a gala as well as fundraising events in collaboration with local restaurants in an effort to involve the community with their cause.
For more information on how to get involved with The Project Heal, please visit the organization’s Facebook Page at Project Heal Miami Chapter. Or for information on services provided at the University of Miami in regards to treatment of eating disorders, please contact the Counseling Center on campus.
words_kami knaudt. Photo_courtesy of the project heal.