In the tumult of putting on the Alexandria F.E.A.S.T. conference, let's not forget an achievement of its own: the Congressional Briefing held at the Capitol the day before. The briefing, coordinated with the Eating Disorders Coalition and Senator Harkin's office, was standing room only and quite an experience for all of us.
The topic was mortality and eating disorders: a difficult but important focus. We had speakers to take on the statistics, the personal impact, intervention, and legislative action and we had a roomful of families and legislative staff and allied organizations to listen and to rally together.
Thanks to F.E.A.S.T.'s incoming Executive Director, Leah Dean, we also have the briefing on video and a transcript now up on the site. We were also featured in a piece in Congressional Quarterly! Links to these and other conference documents are going up on the site daily (see below).
In the weeks since the event I have been in follow-up meetings with a wide range of folks in the mental health field as well as families and allies. Parents went on to spend the afternoon learning about legislation and visiting their representatives with the EDC. I keep hearing from families who did that training and are now taking their actions to local legislators and getting involved in their states and communities. Our goal was to empower parents and it was truly successful. Watch out world!
There were several important moments during that hour, but for me the most moving was when the families in the room - and some had lost their dear loved ones to an eating disorder while others continue to work against that outcome - were invited to hold up pictures of their families. They did so with great emotion, showing the audience the mothers and fathers and brothers and sisters and grandparents and aunts and uncles and cousins and others - affected by this illness and putting faces to the heartbreaking statistic of "TEN PERCENT."
Watch the video and join F.E.A.S.T. in declaring the end of the unacceptable mortality rate for eating disorders: we can do better and we must.
F.E.A.S.T. Family Guide "Puzzling Symptoms: Eating Disorders and the Brain" (Printable!), Alexandria Film Festival Winners & Parent's Choice Awards, 2012 Nottingham Conference Videos, 2012 Alexandria Conference Videos "Ten Percent is Unacceptable" Video "Ten Percent is Unacceptable" Transcript