As costs rise and health benefits decrease for mental health coverage, private payment for eating disorder treatment can be extremely costly. Internationally, there are a few key organizations that one can turn to for scholarship and financial assistance for treatment.
Project HEAL Scholarships
Project HEAL is a 501(c)(3) non-for-profit organization that fundraises for individuals with eating disorders who are not able to afford treatment, and provides a scholarship so they can seek care . They fund inpatient, residential, intensive outpatient, and outpatient treatment for applicants suffering from an eating disorder who want to recover but are hitting financial barriers.
When applying, applicants are asked to indicate their desired level of care and preferences for place of treatment. They do not fund past treatment care.
Project HEAL’s primary criteria for selecting recipients is motivation level. They fund applicants who wish to recover from their eating disorders, and are ready and willing to do the work required. Their application process is online, so the reviewers rely heavily on the amount of effort that is put into the application, and how compelling their case is. Financial need is also taken into account.
Project HEAL also promotes healthy body image and self-esteem, and hopes to prevent future eating disorders. Project HEAL employees and volunteers speak at high schools, hospitals, and share personal stories and education with peers on eating disorders. The non-profit also mentors girls and boys who are struggling, and consults with parents and caregivers. There are currently 20 chapters of Project HEAL at high schools and colleges across the United States and Canada.
Moonshadow’s Spirit is an organization that provides funding to those seeking treatment, in honor of Jennifer Mathiason. Scholarship funds are dispensed to individuals with an eating disorder diagnosis who are seeking treatment at residential and intensive outpatient facilities .
Moonshadow states that, as of 2010, they have been able to bestow 43 awards totaling $97,000 in funding for treatment. Awards have ranged anywhere from $500 to $7,000 per applicant. For this organization, the process of choosing a recipient depends on many factors, including motivation and commitment to treatment .
The Butterfly Foundation
The Butterfly Foundation, based in Australia, believes that all people have the right to access effective treatment . Partnering with Sportsgirl, they are able to offer financial support to those in need. Typically, up to $500 per month is available for assistance to help with the cost of eating disorder treatment.
For this application process, all ages can apply. If the applicant is under 18, they must have a parent or guardian complete and/or sign the application.
The Butterfly Foundation looks for applicants who have a primary diagnosis of an eating disorder, receive Centrelink benefits and/or have a current government health care card issued. They look for individuals who are committed to engaging in treatment and the Financial Assistance for Recovery Program. The application must also not be able to access effective treatment within the public health system.
The Butterfly Foundation aims to help individuals with current treatment costs. Participants work with their health care professional in implementing their agreed upon treatment plan and work towards therapy goals. The Butterfly Foundation actively monitors the recipient throughout their progress through phone, email, reports from treatment team, and self-reports completed every 3 months.
How to Seek Scholarship Funding
In conclusion, when seeking treatment on an international level, costs can vary depending on level of care, duration of treatment, and the country you choose to obtain services. Being able to do research on available funding resources can give you some relief when looking to pay for services.
Looking at where scholarship organizations are located, if there is a regional or national limit on treatment centers, amount typically bestowed, and overview of the application process are all important to consider. Taking time to complete the application is also important, as many organizations solely rely on the submitted application. Thinking about what your commitment level is, motivations for seeking treatment, and future goals after recovery can all help in obtaining financial assistance.
Sitting down with your treatment team, support network, and primary physician can help you gather some objective insight into what others see in your motivation level, reasons for recovery, and what realistic financial assistance is needed. Often, they can also write letters of support to submit with your application.
Knowing what you need to focus on and going after scholarship funds can be a key part of funding your eating disorder treatment. Remember there are various organizations willing to help and support you along your recovery journey.
About the Author: Libby Lyons is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and Certified Eating Disorder Specialist (CEDS). Libby has been practicing in the field of eating disorders, addictions, depression, anxiety and other comorbid issues in various agencies. Libby has previously worked as a contractor for the United States Air Force Domestic Violence Program, Saint Louis University Student Health and Counseling, Saint Louis Behavioral Medicine Institute Eating Disorders Program, and has been in Private Practice.
Libby currently works as a counselor at Fontbonne University and is a Adjunct Professor at Saint Louis University, and is a contributing author for Addiction Hope and Eating Disorder Hope. Libby lives in the St. Louis area with her husband and two daughters. She enjoys spending time with her family, running, and watching movies.
References:: Apply for a Treatment Grant. (n.d.). Retrieved May 21, 2017, from http://theprojectheal.org/apply-for-grants/our-scholarship-progra/
: ORGANIZATIONS OFFERING HELP. (n.d.). Retrieved May 21, 2017, from http://anorexiascholarship.com/resources.html
: Financial Assistance for Recovery Program (FAR). (n.d.). Retrieved May 21, 2017, from https://thebutterflyfoundation.org.au/our-services/treatment/financial-assistance-for-recovery-program/
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 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 on June 9, 2017.
Reviewed By: Jacquelyn Ekern, MS, LPC on June 8, 2017.
Published on EatingDisorderHope.com