By Lisa Brooks, Executive Director
Looking Glass Foundation’s impact on the community is very personal to me. Like many young people, one of my daughters developed an eating disorder early in the lockdown of COVID-19 when she lost her routines, connections through school and sports, and the freedom to see her friends. Thankfully, we recognized what was happening early on, and were able to access the supports she needed. I am happy to say that she is now well on her way to recovery, but it has certainly been a long and difficult path.
Accessing care was not an easy feat. I researched what support options were available in Vancouver, completed the referral form to the VCH Eating Disorder Program and met with our family doctor to have him sign and submit it – I wouldn’t take no for an answer. My husband and I both took a lot of time off work to get our daughter to medical appointments and to provide mealtime support at school. Most importantly, in taking these steps towards recovery, our daughter recognized herself that she needed help. When she was able to access the ED Program, she was genuinely motivated to put in the work get better. With the comforting knowledge that she was supported in her recovery journey, she was willing and able to and actively engage with every member of her treatment team.
As I reflect on the past 2 ½ years, I realize how many barriers there are to receiving help for eating disorder recovery - barriers that many families and individuals are not able to overcome. The wait times for publicly funded eating disorder supports and treatments have never been longer. Our daughter waited 6 months, and the wait can now be as long as 12-14 months – and that is providing you have both a family GP and the capacity to navigate the referral process.
When I was offered the opportunity to join the team at Looking Glass, I jumped at the chance. Our programs can be accessed without a referral or formal diagnosis, regardless of where the individual is in their recovery. At a time when the rate of people being affected by eating disorders continues to rise, I hope to use my personal and professional experience to work with the team to increase awareness about our programs, to continue to deliver exceptional programs and to help more individuals and their families.