Communities of HEALing for Primary Caregivers: a partnership with F.E.A.S.T.

SEPTEMBER 19, 2019

Dear Project HEAL Community, 

I’m so excited to be sharing this update; it’s been a long time in the making!

When the idea for Communities of HEALing was born more than three years ago, we knew we wanted to support not just those fighting eating disorders themselves, but the people who love and care for them. Sustaining recovery requires a strong support system, but that’s very hard to build. 

Those of us who have been lucky enough to have supportive family and friends know that caring for us in recovery can be downright counterintuitive when ED isn’t something you’ve experienced yourself. We’ve watched our loved ones struggle to love us in the ways we need during healing, and we’ve seen the toll that it can take on them if they don’t have their own support.

That’s why we’re proud to launch a new initiative to design a Communities of HEALing peer-support program for primary caregivers—the main source of care for someone battling an eating disorder, whether they be a parent, sibling, spouse, or other loved one or carer. 

Our vision for the program is to both equip primary caregivers to best support their loved one, and to get support for themselves, from other caregivers who have “been there” and can bring the unique understanding that only comes from shared experience.

We’re excited to bring our knowledge of best practices in eating disorder peer support to this project, but we recognize that primary caregivers have different needs than those with eating disorders themselves. That’s why we’ve partnered with our friends at F.E.A.S.T. to build this program.

As our program partner, F.E.A.S.T. will lead our efforts to understand what primary caregivers most need from a peer-support program, both in form and content. In the first phase of the project, F.E.A.S.T. will collect insight from a vast and diverse community of caregivers. Together, we’ll draw on the stories and data collected to build a peer-support program that provides tailored, sustained peer support to primary caregivers.

Building a program that has the significant, meaningful impact we want to see for loved ones requires deep listening and thoughtful planning, and with F.E.A.S.T. by our side we know we’ll be able to build something powerful. 

I look forward to sharing more updates about the program’s development over the next year, including opportunities for those of you who have cared for someone with an eating disorder to share your wisdom with us.

Supporting caregivers brings us a big step further to our mission to ensure that anyone with an eating disorder has the resources they need to fully recover. We couldn’t be more proud to be doing this work with F.E.A.S.T., and with you.

With gratitude,

Grace Patterson

Chief Programs Officer

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F.E.A.S.T. is a global organization driven by parent caregivers of ED sufferers that supports caregivers and advocates for evidence-based treatment and parent inclusion in treatment. Over more than a decade, they’ve built a community of families that provides education, support, and advocacy for families all over the world.