In this series, Eating Disorder Hope Founder, Jacquelyn Ekern, interviews Chase Banister of the Eating Disorders Coalition to discuss the work they have been doing.
In this final excerpt from the interview of Chase Banister, President of the Eating Disorders Coalition Board of Directors, he discusses the moments of change he has witnessed through his work and how you can get involved.
The Power of Eating Disorder Advocacy Day
CB: We can make a difference, and I’ve been privileged enough to see it happen. I was in the room in the Senate chamber in 2016 when Vice President Biden, in his last act as outgoing Vice President, signed the 21st Century Heroes Act into law alongside The Cancer Moonshot Initiative, named after Bo Biden.
We were also in the room when the Anna Westin Act was signed. This act was started by her Mom, Katie Westin, who is a rock star. Her daughter, Anna, died of an eating disorder, and she was able to be in the room as the President signed that act into law, and eating disorders were, for the first time ever, recognized in our federal codex of laws.
***These are his words [President Obama], Anna Westin actually died from suicide after her insurance refused her inpatient coverage. I don’t know how particular we want to be about these facts, but I wanted to point this out, so we are disseminating truthful information. She did, technically, die as a result of her eating disorder because of the hopelessness she felt at not receiving necessary treatment, which is still horrifying and an important nuance because of the suicide rate of individuals with eating disorders. Even so, it may appear to be an inaccuracy.***
That was a huge deal, but it is just a start, and we have much more work to do on the road ahead. We depend on our communities such as our wonderful sponsors and members of our organization, such as NEDA, the Residential Eating Disorders Consortium, the Alliance for Eating Disorders Awareness, and Eating Disorder Hope.
There is a reason we are called the “coalition,” because it really is about bringing folks to the table, and when we do, there is no limit to what we could do, lives that could be saved, and people whose lives can be made more fulfilling and rich.
JE: Chase, your passion is so exhilarating to watch, and I thank you and the Eating Disorders Coalition’s work. If someone would like to sign-up to advocate or become a member, how should they proceed?
CB: First, I would encourage they go to our website and use the “Contact Us” links there. Even though the window has closed for Advocacy Day, there may be a few opportunities in specific areas. Nonetheless, we want to hear from you:
Luke Kopecky leads our connection. His e-mail address is [email protected]
We would love to have folks become members and would be happy for any organization that wants to be a member or individuals that want to gather together and donate. Every dollar counts, and we put it to work. We are very transparent about where we spend our resources so that we can really make a difference. We are all in this together, so this is a shared purse.
I can discuss how I have helped all day long, but we only exist on the backs of those persons that fought for advocacy and help in years before me. It is for these people that we now exist, and it is now both a burden and an honor of the highest caliber to step into those shoes and help.
JE: Thank you, Chase. It has been a privilege to spend this time with you. I know that families of those dealing with eating disorders and providers will all appreciate this information.
This was such a great overview of what the Eating Disorder Coalition does and what you are doing right now to help Eating Disorder sufferers.
Virtual interview with Chase Banister of the Eating Disorders Coalition conducted by Jacquelyn Ekern, MS, LPC, – Founder & President of Eating Disorder Hope and Addiction Hope on October 28, 2020.
About the Transcriber:
Margot Rittenhouse, MS, PLPC, NCC is a therapist who is passionate about providing mental health support to all in need and has worked with clients with substance abuse issues, eating disorders, domestic violence victims, and offenders, and severely mentally ill youth.
As a freelance writer for Eating Disorder Hope and Addiction Hope and a mentor with MentorConnect, Margot is a passionate eating disorder advocate, committed to de-stigmatizing these illnesses while showing support for those struggling through mentoring, writing, and volunteering. Margot has a Master’s of Science in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Johns Hopkins University.
The opinions and views of our guest contributors are shared to provide a broad perspective on eating disorders. These are not necessarily the views of Eating Disorder Hope, but an effort to offer a discussion of various issues by different concerned individuals.
We at Eating Disorder Hope understand that eating disorders result from a combination of environmental and genetic factors. If you or a loved one are suffering from an eating disorder, please know that there is hope for you, and seek immediate professional help.
Published December 31, 2020, on EatingDisorderHope.com
Reviewed & Approved on December 31, 2020, by Jacquelyn Ekern MS, LPC