New eating disorders program starts in Nanaimo

A non-profit society is looking to fill the gap in outpatient services for adults dealing with eating disorders in Nanaimo.

A non-profit society is looking to fill the gap in outpatient services for adults dealing with eating disorders in Nanaimo.

Angela Slade, a certified child and youth care counsellor, is co-ordinating the Break Free adult eating disorder pilot program at Shore Counselling Society.

Slade, who recently completed an eight-month practicum at the adult eating disorders program in Parksville, said she approached Shore to donate space for Break Free, because there is no outpatient program for adults dealing with eating disorders or disordered eating in Nanaimo.

The Vancouver Island Health Authority funds the Parksville program, but there is no publicly funded equivalent in Nanaimo. NARSF Programs Ltd. runs a program for children with eating disorders.

“I just know from being in this community for the last 20 years that the need is there,” said Slade, adding people registering told her they’ve hoped for a program like this for a long time.

Only a few weeks after she began registering people for the free workshop series beginning this week, the program is now full – a dozen women have signed up and two more are on a wait list.

“This has just been through word of mouth,” said Slade.

If the program is successful and can demonstrate a need in the community, her hope is the health authority and other sources might fund an ongoing program.

A 12-week workshop/support series started this week and explores topics like stress management, positive relationships, coping with setbacks and social pressures.

Slade said participants learn about the underlying issues that lead to eating disorders and coping strategies.

The other component of the Break Free program is one-on-one counselling, which will be offered on a sliding scale.

“If they can pay something, they’re encouraged to pay it,” said Slade.

The money goes back into the counselling programs Shore provides.

Slade got interested in eating disorders counselling after working at an all-girls private school on the Island about six years ago and seeing some of the issues that arose there.

She does preventative work as well – she developed a self-esteem and body image empowerment summer program for girls, which runs out of the Oliver Woods Community Centre this July.

James Latour Retegno, Shore executive director, said the group gave Slade about $6,500 to offer the program and the society has been busy writing grant proposals to a variety of different groups.

He hopes a successful pilot of the program will secure funding to continue Break Free as a sustainable, ongoing program.

Kelly Reid, VIHA’s director of mental health and addictions services, said the health authority would be open to hearing from the group and would be willing to explore any opportunity to partner with a group offering a valuable program.

“We do have some services and we would like in the future to grow our eating disorder services,” he said.



A Nanaimo father who fought to get treatment for his daughter last year is happy to see some help is available for people struggling with eating disorders in Nanaimo.

Bryan Dubinsky, whose daughter Samantha was near death last winter when she was refused treatment in B.C.’s only public, inpatient medical program for adults with eating disorders, took his daughter’s story about struggling with an eating disorder to the media in hopes that public pressure would get her the help she needed.

He believes she was refused treatment until she was alarmingly ill – she was 40 pounds underweight – because there simply wasn’t room for her at the seven-bed program at St. Paul’s Hospital in Vancouver.

While Samantha eventually got treated at St. Paul’s, Dubinsky has fought for more support for people with eating disorders.

The program that Angela Slade has put together – and her willingness to run this program for free for people who need it but can’t afford it – is going to help fill a service gap in Nanaimo, he said.

“Because there was nothing before,” said Dubinsky. “I think what this woman is doing is nothing short of fantastic.”

But, he added, he’d like to see the province step in.

While the province decided last winter to partially fund a private residential treatment facility for eating disorders, Dubinsky wants funding for more beds at St. Paul’s and more education and outpatient support in communities.

The province developed an action plan for provincial services for people with eating disorders last year, which sets out goals such as analyzing services provided and identifying gaps in the continuum of care, and Dubinsky is worried this plan has stalled out.

Just Posted

Nanaimo author B.S. Thompson has released his debut novel, ‘The Book of Nodd.’ (Photo courtesy Nora Funk)
Nanaimo author invites readers into dangerous world of dreams in debut novel

B.S. Thompson unveils ‘The Book of Nodd’ with online launch June 20

Potters Virginia Dunseith and Ruth Porter present their joint exhibit ‘Dig It’ at Art 10 Gallery until the end of June. (Josef Jacobson/News Bulletin)
Potters show pieces for home and garden at Nanaimo’s Art 10 Gallery

Virginia Dunseith and Ruth Porter’s show ‘Dig It’ on display until end of June

Construction work continues on the City of Nanaimo’s new Fire Station No. 1 on Fitzwilliam Street. (News Bulletin file)
Next phase of borrowing approved as Nanaimo fire hall construction ongoing

City of Nanaimo CAO says construction on Fitzwilliam Street hall on schedule and budget

Nanaimo Fire Rescue firefighters at the scene of a single-vehicle crash on Tenth Street near Southside Drive on Sunday, June 13. (Greg Sakaki/News Bulletin)
Driver OK after crashing vehicle off the side of Nanaimo’s Tenth Street

Crews say wet roads a factor a crash Sunday, June 13

Emergency crews on scene of a two-car crash at the intersection of Cranberry Avenue and the Trans-Canada Highway on Sunday, June 13. (Greg Sakaki/News Bulletin)
Crash blocks Cranberry intersection in Nanaimo, no one injured

Incident blocks both southbound lanes of Trans-Canada Highway

Kelowna-Lake Country MLA Norm Letnick, assistant deputy speaker at the B.C. legislature, presides over committee discussions. The legislature is completing its delayed spring session this week, with most MLAs participating by video conference. (Hansard TV)
B.C.’s daily COVID-19 infections dip below 100 over weekend

Only 68 new cases recorded Monday, four additional deaths

Gabriola Island artist Sheila Norgate is promoting the Digital Innovation Group’s art impact survey. (File photo)
Vancouver Island artists get behind regional arts impact study

Artists urged to use their stature to help put arts and culture super-region on the map

The BC Ferries website went down for a short while Monday morning following a provincial announcement that recreational travel between health authorities can resume Tuesday. (Black Press Media file photo)
BC Ferries’ website crashes in wake of provincial reopening announcement

Website back up now, recreational travel between health regions to resume as of Tuesday

Darren Campbell’s truck (pictured) was stolen when he stopped to check on a car in a ditch on Cowichan Bay Road on Monday morning. (Facebook photo)
Vancouver Island Good Samaritan’s truck stolen in nasty trick

‘Try to be a Good Samaritan and my $20,000 truck gets stolen right under my nose’

The Kamloops Indian Residential School is photographed using a drone in Kamloops, B.C., Monday, June, 14, 2021. The remains of 215 children were discovered buried near the former school earlier this month. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Communities grapple with what to do with former residential and day schools

Some tear them down as a tool to help healing, others repurpose them as tools for moving forward

Creative handmade signs abound at the June 13 Tofino rally for old growth trees. (Nora O’Malley photo)
VIDEO: Tofino stands in solidarity for Fairy Creek Blockades

Over 150 supporters attend rally hosted by Friends of Clayoquot Sound

FILE – Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry talks about B.C.’s plan to restart the province during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, Tuesday, May 25, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. watching U.K.’s COVID struggles but don’t think province will see similar pitfalls

Studies show that one dose of vaccine is only 33 per cent effective in preventing B.1.617.2 spread

RCMP Const. Shelby Patton is shown in this undated handout photo. RCMP say that Patton was hit by an allegedly stolen truck that he had pulled over on Saturday morning in Wolseley, east of Regina. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, RCMP
Pair charged in Saskatchewan Mountie’s death make first court appearance

Const. Shelby Patton was hit by an allegedly stolen truck that he had pulled over Saturday morning

Most Read