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New service to treat those affected by eating disorders.

New service to treat those affected by eating disorders. (WPEC)

There's a new service available to treat those affected by eating disorders.

Johanna Kandell and Dr. Joann Hendelman from the Alliance for Eating Disorders Awareness joined CBS12 News This Morning to share information on the new psychological service program.

The Alliance's new Psychological Service Program is a community program to aid those who are uninsured or under insured in our community.

The Alliance will offer direct life-saving treatment, provided by post-doctoral fellows, for eating disorders in an outpatient setting.

The Alliance will charge a nominal fee for clients based on ability to pay.

This first-of-its-kind program will offer direct life-saving treatment in an outpatient setting to those affect by eating disorders. Supervised by their Clinical Director, Dr. Joann Hendelman, who has more than 40 years of experience working with eating disorders, two post-doctoral Fellows will see a minimum of 75 unduplicated patients a year, averaging 20 sessions per week. Evidence-based intervention and care will determine patient session frequency.

The Clinical Director will supervise both Fellows to ensure that the specialized care being provided is effective and meets current scientifically based standards of care. All clients receiving care through the psychological services program will be assessed upon entry into the program, at every session, and three months after discharge using an evidence-based outcome measure.

“Eating disorders do not discriminate. They affect people of all sex, age, race, body shape and weight, sexual orientation, and socioeconomic status. Recovery should not a privilege and everybody deserves access to care,” said Johanna Kandel, the CEO of The Alliance. “There are many Floridians who do not have access to adequate coverage so we potentially have thousands of people in Palm Beach County who urgently need treatment. We hope this program will fill that gap.”

Early intervention and treatment is critical for an individual to fully recover from an eating disorder. This program will provide direct access to proper care, raise awareness, and provide life-saving treatment for those struggling with eating disorders who would otherwise not obtain the effective treatment needed to recover.

Every 62 minutes someone dies as a direct result of their eating disorder which equates to 23 individuals a day. The National Institute of Health has reported that the occurrence of eating disorders has grown in all countries and across all social classes. Eating disorders are more common than autism and Alzheimer’s disease, more deadly than drunk driving, and even more costly than depression and anxiety. Eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of any psychiatric illness and are not a lifestyle choice. They are genetically, environmentally, and psychologically influenced mental illnesses. Nationally, an estimated 30 million Americans are battling eating disorders with upwards of 700,000 individuals suffering in Florida alone.

Eating disorders can cause significant physical and psychological complications that impede one’s ability to maintain normal, daily functioning including one’s ability to work. As a result, one in four individuals with an eating disorder is unemployed and receive disability, Medicare, or Medicaid. Many of these plans offer limited mental health benefits and specialized treatment providers, many of whom have no training or experience working with eating disorders.

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