Expanding support for eating disorders across Canada

UHN Foundation is honoured to receive a transformational $2-million gift through The Slaight Family Foundation’s Women and Girls Initiative to support the National Eating Disorder Information Centre (NEDIC).

On February 8, The Slaight Family Foundation announced a $15-million donation to 12 organizations across Canada supporting the unique challenges faced by women and girls. This initiative recognizes the extreme impact that the pandemic has had on women and girls, leading to an increase in domestic violence, eating disorders and other mental or physical health challenges.

“The pandemic has added to the many challenges faced by women and girls across Canada, and particularly in Indigenous, racialized and refugee communities,” says Gary Slaight, President & CEO, The Slaight Family Foundation. “This initiative is about helping people escape difficult circumstances, providing supports for mental and physical health, and overcoming barriers so that women and girls across Canada can live their lives unburdened by unfair, unhealthy or unsafe circumstances.”

The portion of the gift directed to UHN Foundation will fund new and expanded services within NEDIC, a national leader in the eating disorders field. NEDIC offers information, resources, system navigation, and in-the-moment support through its toll-free telephone helpline, online instant chat service, website, and social media.

In Canada, 2.7 million people meet the diagnostic criteria for an eating disorder and approximately 8.5 per cent of women will develop an eating disorder in their lifetime. The pandemic has increased the prevalence of eating disorders as these conditions thrive in isolation. Over the last two years, NEDIC has seen a 250 per cent increase in demand for its instant chat and toll-free helpline.

The generosity of The Slaight Family Foundation will allow NEDIC to strategically plan and implement services over the next five years to:

  • Meet the increased demand for its services by expanding its instant chat support into the weekends and piloting an artificial intelligence-driven chatbot that can direct clients to resources 24/7
  • Increase access to reliable information by translating existing resources into new languages and creating new resources in partnership with racialized communities
  • Raise awareness of eating disorder prevention and available resources through social media

“I cannot begin to describe what this donation means for NEDIC,” says Suzanne Phillips, Program Manager at NEDIC. “A gift of this magnitude will transform our operations and allow us to help so many more Canadians affected by eating disorders and disordered eating. I am incredibly grateful to The Slaight Family Foundation for their generosity and recognition of the important work being done by NEDIC.”

Over the last nine years, The Slaight Family Foundation has made significant contributions to various healthcare initiatives in the GTA and across Canada. UHN has been the beneficiary of this philanthropy, which has included support to transform seniors’ care and integrate physical and mental health across UHN.

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