Contributor: Staff at Timberline Knolls Residential Treatment Center
Eating disorders are devastating mental health conditions that can be hard on both you and your loved ones. If left untreated, eating disorders can cause dangerous medical complications. It’s vital to receive effective eating disorder treatment in order to obtain useful tools such as peer mentoring to cope with symptoms.
One factor that greatly improves the lives of individuals who have mental health conditions is social support. If someone has a steady source of comfort and reassurance, this greatly increases their chances of recovery.
One type of social support is peer mentorship. This is where someone who has recovered from an eating disorder provides support to an individual who is currently seeking eating disorder treatment.
You may be wondering why mentorship is so important and how it applies to the condition you are living with. Research from the Journal of Eating Disorders in 2019 showed that individuals who received peer mentoring for an eating disorder demonstrated significant improvements in body mass index and quality of life.
Those who received mentorship also showed a decrease in eating disorder symptoms and disability levels, along with a decrease in depression symptoms, anxiety symptoms, and stress levels. Additionally, this program showed no negative effects on the mood, quality of life, or disability levels of those providing the mentorship.
These results confirm the effectiveness of mentorship, both for those providing and those receiving. You can find mentorship for eating disorders and other mental health conditions through local chapters of the National Alliance on Mental Illness, the National Eating Disorders Association, and the National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders. You can also find local support by visiting our post on eating disorder support groups.
While these organizations and foundations are informal sources of support to assist with recovery, mentorship can be found in a variety of other ways, including reliable online forums through local associations, teachers, guidance counselors, and people who have found recovery from eating disorders.
Mentorship can be a valuable aspect of finding recovery from an eating disorder, but it is important to seek this support from the appropriate sources.
It is not advised to seek mentorship from an individual who has not received treatment for an eating disorder, as they may have struggles of their own. People who have found recovery and gained the tools to cope with an eating disorder are better resources for you during treatment.
Taking the first step toward receiving eating disorder treatment is not easy. Yet, with a supportive treatment team and comprehensive care, you can find the picture of health you have imagined for yourself.
The road to recovery from an eating disorder may be difficult even with the right support, but it will help you to function better while improving your quality of life. Take the first step of finding peer mentoring for an eating disorder today, and remember that reaching out for support along the way can only help your treatment process.
Beveridge, J., Phillipou, A., Jenkins, Z., Newton, R., Brennan, L., Hanly, F., … & Castle, D. (2019). Peer mentoring for eating disorders: Results from the evaluation of a pilot program. Journal of Eating Disorders, 7(13).
National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders. (2019). Recovery mentor. Retrieved from: https://anad.org/volunteer/opportunities/recovery-mentor/
About Our Sponsor:
At Timberline Knolls Residential Treatment Center outside of Chicago, Illinois, we provide specialized care for women and adolescent girls who are living with eating disorders, substance use disorders, and various mental health concerns. Our residential treatment and partial hospitalization programming (PHP) help our residents achieve lifelong recovery by combining clinically excellent treatment with spiritual and emotional growth. We provide care that is holistic, personalized, and nurturing, empowering women to be active participants in their wellness journeys.
The opinions and views of our guest contributors are shared to provide a broad perspective of 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.
Reviewed & Approved on October 1, 2019, by Jacquelyn Ekern MS, LPC
Published October 1, 2019, on EatingDisorderHope.com