“Eating disorders do not discriminate and it doesn’t matter what your age or sexual identity is,” says Natasha Newby, the executive director for Hope’s Garden.
The organization is working with Big Brothers Big Sisters to create a support program for people between 18 and 24 years of age, who are either experiencing disordered eating or body image issues. Newby says about 4% of Londoners in that age group experience those issues, compared to about 2% nationally.
She says it’s likely because many people at that age are in college or university. “There’s a lot of pressure when you’re off and going to school.”
Newby adds that those in the program will be matched with a mentor who went through a similar recovery journey. “Whether that’d be someone that’s transitioning at a hospital, treatment facility, or someone that’s a little bit more solid in their recovery but just needs a little bit more support and motivation,” she explains, “If the person just needs affirmation on how they’re moving in their journey, whether it’s like ‘You’re doing a great job’, ‘It takes a lot of strength and courage to do this’. Sometimes it’s just a listening ear.”