Eating disorder treatment can be difficult to access. There are many financial and systemic barriers, and stigmas that get in the way. That’s why understanding and effectively addressing these barriers is vital part of Project Heal CEO Rebecca Eyre’s mission to increase access to equitable and competent care for ALL.
On a recent episode of Equipped to Recover on The Recovery Warrior Shows podcast channel, Rebecca Eyre shared the tools and knowledge needed to increase access to help for those struggling with an eating disorder.
Rebecca has lived experience as a family member of people struggling with an eating disorder, along with professional experience in eating disorder treatment, marketing, and philanthropy. She brings this all together with her passion for increasing access to eating disorder care and dismantling oppressive systems both within and outside the eating disorder world.
Keep reading as Rebecca shares her inspiring journey to create a more inclusive and accessible landscape for eating disorder patients from diverse backgrounds. Her guidance will help you better serve your own needs and advocate for change.
Common Barriers to Treatment
Only 10-20% of people with eating disorders ever access treatment . Common reasons for this include:
- Low income
- Racial barriers
- Weight stigma
- Socioeconomic barriers
- Lack of insurance coverage, or a lack of knowledge on navigating insurance
How Rebecca Eyre is Increasing Access to Care
Project Heal is the only major non-profit in the United States focused on creating equitable treatment access for all people with eating disorders. Rebecca is leading Project Heal to break down systemic, healthcare, and financial barriers that millions face when trying to get help.
They accomplish this by offering clinical assessments, insurance navigation education, treatment placement, and cash assistance.
Additionally, Rebecca Eyre is dedicated to raising awareness on how treatment access can be improved. She’s helping people in the eating disorder world increase their understanding of the stigma and barriers related to treatment access, in order to work together and advocate for change.
How You Can Help
Together, we have the power and influence to make a difference in the lives of all people with eating disorders.
By addressing this crucial issue, Rebecca Eyre hopes that we not only influence and improve the quality of care the medical field provides, but that we may also pave the way for a fairer, more inclusive landscape where every person has the opportunity to embark on the road to recovery and regain control of their life.
Here are the key steps Rebecca shared:
- Educate yourself on systemic barriers in healthcare.
- Promote diversity and representation in the eating disorder field.
- Advocate for cultural competency in eating disorder care.
1. Educate Yourself on Systemic Barriers in Healthcare.
Systemic barriers in healthcare are the various obstacles that individuals face when trying to access medical and mental health treatment. Understanding and addressing these barriers is crucial to improve accessibility and competency for eating disorder care.
These barriers are often multifaceted and can disproportionately impact marginalized communities. This includes people of color, those from lower socioeconomic backgrounds, and LGBTQIA+ individuals.
Recognizing and addressing these barriers is an essential step in ensuring equitable treatment for people from all backgrounds and circumstances.
Rebecca Eyre discussed how her experiences working within the eating disorder field showed her the importance of understanding systemic barriers, particularly among marginalized groups.
She described how the lack of access to proper eating disorder care disproportionately affects these groups. This results in a delayed or inaccurate diagnosis for many individuals.
Systemic barriers are in the research data. If I’m committed to breaking down barriers to care, I’m obligated to talk about this.
Rebecca not only discusses the need to learn about the systemic barriers in healthcare in order to influence change, but she gives examples on ways to overcome these barriers.
They include: mandatory eating disorder competency training for clinicians, and making higher education more accessible for BIPOC, people of size, and LGBTQIA+ individuals.
Addressing systemic barriers and working to change them is important to ensure that a broader range of people have the opportunity to receive care. It helps to breaking down the barriers that exclude marginalized groups.
Removing these barriers will result in a treatment field that is more inclusive, empathetic, and effective. This benefits both patients and professionals alike. Educating yourself can help eliminate these obstacles, creating a more equitable future for eating disorder care and treatment.
2. Promote Diversity and Representation in the Eating Disorder Field.
In the journey to break down barriers in eating disorder treatment, promoting diversity and representation in the field is a helpful step.
Studies show that marginalized communities are disproportionately affected by eating disorders. These conditions often go unnoticed and untreated for extended periods due to socioeconomic, racial, and cultural constraints, along with the public misconceptions that eating disorders only affect thin and affluent white women.
To address this, Rebecca Eyre believes it’s crucial to ensure that professionals in the field are more diverse and representative of the range of communities they serve. This enables them to have a deeper understanding of cultural differences, enhance inclusivity, and ultimately offer more care to individuals from all backgrounds.
Rebecca believes it’s important for diverse professionals to lead research and occupy positions of power in the treatment field. By doing so, traditionally marginalized populations, such as BIPOC, people of size, and LGBTQIA+ individuals, can be better represented and helped in research and treatment.
We need people from all of the different communities that are affected by eating disorders to be part of the fieldRebecca Eyre
In addition, Eyre highlights the need for more education among clinicians of all practices with regard to eating disorders. Recognizing that a better understanding of the unique challenges faced by various demographics can lead to more accessibility and care.
Enhancing diversity and representation in the eating disorder field is key to breaking down the barriers that affect marginalized groups. Especially in terms of receiving access to care and an accurate diagnosis, along with promoting more equitable treatment outcomes.
Additionally, diverse perspectives can foster new solutions to address complex problems and help drive more knowledge in this area. This ultimately helps all people with eating disorders.
3. Advocate for Cultural Competency in Eating Disorder Care.
Cultural Competency is the ability of individuals and systems to respond respectfully and effectively to people of all cultures, classes, races, ethnic backgrounds, sexual orientations, and faiths or religions in a manner that recognizes, affirms, and values their worth and dignity .
Developing cultural competency in eating disorder care is essential to breaking down barriers to treatment. Socioeconomic and racial disparities can significantly impact the quality of care that marginalized groups receive. This leads to a lack of understanding and proper treatment.
Cultural competency goes beyond understanding the symptoms and diagnostics of eating disorders. It also involves recognizing and addressing the unique struggles and systemic barriers faced by diverse populations.
By developing cultural competency, treatment professionals can better serve their patients, ultimately improving accessibility, understanding, and outcomes for all.
Eating disorders are more understood in white, affluent female communities, but they’re occurring in other communities at equal rates or higher rates.Rebecca Eyre
Rebecca Eyre emphasizes the need for clinicians to be aware of the unique experiences and struggles faced by marginalized groups. It’s crucial for healthcare professionals to understand the intricacies of eating disorders and the communities impacted.
Cultural competency in eating disorder care is vital. It allows professionals to better identify, treat, and support individuals from all backgrounds. By gaining a deeper understanding of the unique challenges faced by marginalized communities, clinicians can better address the direct and indirect factors that contribute to the development and progression of eating disorders.
Culturally competent care reduces stigma and ensures that treatment is more inclusive and appropriate. It promotes better engagement between the provider and patient. It’s a crucial step towards creating a more equitable, accessible, and effective system for all.
Breaking Down Barriers with Rebecca Eyre
Understanding the barriers to treatment faced by individuals from diverse socioeconomic and racial backgrounds is important to spark change.
Project Heal CEO Rebecca Eyre shows us that there are practical steps we can take to make a difference. Together we can influence change in the eating disorder treatment landscape.
By educating ourselves on systemic issues, increasing diversity, and advocating for cultural competency skills, and early interventions, we can improve the accessibility and effectiveness of eating disorder treatment.
There is no way to not be political if you care about equitable access, period.Rebecca Eyre
By mobilizing community resources, advocating for insurance coverage and offering affordable options, we can create a more inclusive recovery landscape.
Embrace these tools and take action to break down barriers to make eating disorder treatment more accessible.
Click here to learn more about Equip.
Connect with Rebecca Eyre, Project Heal, and Equip
- Equip Website
- Project Heal Website
- Rebecca Eyre on Project Heal
- Project Heal on Instagram
- Equip on Instagram