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Lindsy first heard of the National Eating Disorder Information Centre (NEDIC) seven years ago when she was recovering from her own history of disordered eating.
She was able to experience first-hand the support and services that NEDIC offers individuals struggling with food and weight preoccupation. With a view to holistic healing and whole body acceptance, Lindsy went on to study kinesiology, fitness and lifestyle management and yoga.
Today, Lindsy is in her final year of the Bachelor of Social Work program at Ryerson University and provides direct client support through NEDIC's toll-free national helpline.
The National Eating Disorder Information Centre (NEDIC) operates Canada's only toll-free helpline dedicated to eating disorders. It receives more than 2,000 calls each year from individuals who are struggling, or from family and friends who are seeking information to support a loved one.
On Thursday, May 28, NEDIC will be hosting its fourth annual fundraiser, A Taste For Life, at TIFF Bell Lightbox, with all proceeds going directly to support the helpline (1-866-NEDIC-20 or 416 340 4156 in the GTA).
The event will be hosted by Cityline's Tracy Moore and will include live music from Candice Sand, host bar and hors d'oeuvres catered by Oliver & Bonacini, and a silent and live auction – including a luxury cycling trip for two through Puglia, Italy.
Tickets are $120/pp and can be reserved or donations can be made online at NEDIC.ca.
"Every call is different," says Lindsy. "Yesterday, I had a father call about his teenage daughter. He wanted some guidance on how best to talk to his daughter about her eating disorder.
"Today, I spoke with a middle-aged woman who has struggled with emotional eating patterns her entire life. Then, there is a 28-year-old woman from Calgary who has recovered from her eating disorder, but calls NEDIC regularly, looking for support in between her counseling sessions."
NEDIC's helpline provides a safe and supportive outlet for individuals to share their concerns and questions, or seek information or guidance anonymously, without fear of judgment. As a resource centre, it can help individuals navigate the information available online to make their own informed decisions, send them resources specific to their needs, or refer them to one of 800 service providers across Canada.
Some days Lindsy receives up to 15 calls and each call might vary in length from 15 to 40 minutes, depending on the client's needs. About 25 to 30 per cent of the calls are directly from individuals who are struggling with an eating disorder - often around meal times. Another 25 to 30 per cent come from friends or family members concerned about an individual who they suspect may have an eating disorder.
Educators, coaches, counselors and health care providers also call NEDIC for additional information, lesson plans or bulletins that highlight the latest research in the areas of body image, self-esteem and disordered eating.
"The reasons why people may call NEDIC's helpline will vary," says Lindsy. "But at the end of the day, everyone who calls is looking for help. They want to know that they are not alone.
"They need to know that there is hope. We can provide that."
Thanks to the generous support of the Bell Let's Talk program in 2013, NEDIC was able to extend the hours of its helpline Monday through Friday 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.
"The hours allow individuals from coast to coast, to call after their regular school day or business day," says Program Co-ordinator, Suzanne Phillips.