Schizophrenia, WBZ, Executive Director discussed on Nightside with Dan Rea
Congratulations to you careful OC of Arlington and Scott Murphy of dead now as everybody knows WBZ cares. And for several years. Now, we focus on a great charity in the New England area in the greater Boston New England area every month and this month, we have a charity called meta which has been around for a long time. But one of the I only found out about a few. A few months ago. It is the foremost eating disorders nonprofit organization in New England. They provide education about eating disorders and underlying causes to develop a compassionate computer community to promote hopefulness and supports healing. We have three guests is studio, and we are going to I believe talked to one guest on the phone. And of course, we always invite your phone calls, Rebecca Manley founded the multi-service eating disorders association or meta. Rebecca, you've been with the group for twenty five years or so that's correct. When you about four years old. Thank you very much. Honestly. Yeah. So how did it what what prompted you to start this? Well, I decided to start the organization for a couple of different reasons. One was out of my own recovery. I struggled with disordered eating for much of my life. I went back to school. I got my bachelor's degree in education and my master's degree in family. Studies in counseling and quickly realized that there was a major service lacking in the state around education and prevention of eating disorders and treatment for individuals, especially college students who are seeking help. So I started the organization February of nineteen ninety four with a mission to prevent entreat individuals with eating disorders, and the mission has really not changed much from the initial pillars that we started back, then we didn't plan it this way. But last hour last hour, we talked about bariatric surgery, which some people. Might think is it's a different. It's it's different. And I wanna make that clear right off. And amanda. Distefano is a clinician and chief clinical director of meta. So. When you say eating disorders that has to cover a wide spectrum of eating disorders. I assume people too much people eat little people only this whatever keep us a sense of what type of eating disorders this organization focuses on. I mean, we're talking about just the teenage girl who is sick or much much more than that. And good question. Dan. I mean, I think that's something that we really want to stress. I think there's a stereotype that people struggling with eating disorders are know teenage females or sort of this white wealthy female disease. And I want to be really clear that eating disorders exist on a spectrum, and they affect all ages all races, all all socio economic status, all genders and all body shapes and sizes, so what's really important is you cannot look at one's body type and determine their health these eating disorders or mental illnesses that are categorized by irregular eating habits and severe distress about concern over your body, weight and shape. So these people are really really concerned about how they look and what they're eating and the most common eating disorders that we're seeing at meta consists of anorexia nervosa Belania am Benji. Disorder. And this can affect as you said any variety of people. No, one is immune to developing an eating disorder, the executive director's also here who's a friend for many many years. And I gotta say it is the daughter of. Great doctor, a great set of parents, Larry Larry Cohn and his and his lovely wife. Roberta and Leslie Bernstein who. We've known since our daughter met her as a teacher at at the Windsor school in Boston. Let's see how did you get involved in this? What's what was the nexus here for for you? And and I know you so committed to this cause thank you. I do want to say, Dan, I really appreciate WBZ cares. Highlighting meta for the month of February. It's. And are really important to raise awareness around. Not only 'Iranisation but eating disorders in general. I was a friend of a board member who said please come to my fundraiser, which I did. And at that fundraiser, there was a whole. Initiative that was discussed that was about body, positively promoting body positively positive self esteem at all levels and they were starting an education initiative. I had just retired. And I was invited to be part become part of this education initiative. How we're going to give how meta was going to give presentations to schools to faculty to MD's are says other social workers other therapists, and eventually I became. I I was sucked in and draft Japhet. There you go. And and eventually the previous executive director retired. And last August, and there I was I was very very committed and very love the staff. Love the passion. Love the mission the numbers. Here are extraordinary because enlist correct me if I'm wrong, and then we'll open it up to some phone calls as well. Some thirty million people in America, we this like ten percent of the population are affected by this. Yes, it is a very important mental illness and up there with depression and anxiety, and it often can happen together to, but it is all very, very pervasive. It can start very young. It can start with. It's never about the food or the eating. It's always about certain feelings. And how you feel about yourself. How you compare yourself to others and it can. You know, even minor things, and certainly I had experience in middle school. Can lead later on to serious mental illness, and then serious consequences. One of the things it's really important to to talk about is something Leslie mentioned is that eating disorders are very prominent in our society today, and if you look at the amount of funding that eating disorders are given on a national basis eating disorders gets around twenty five million dollars in research funding. If you look at illnesses like schizophrenia, which gets three hundred and fifty million dollars a year for research funding. And if you look at the numbers about a thousand people in the United States struggle with schizophrenia compared to the the numbers of people who are struggling with eating disorders. So it's really schizophrenia was that number one thousand people in the United States one thousand people struggle with schizophrenia what just one thousand. That's yes, I'm stunned by that. So it's a very very small number of individuals who struggle with schizophrenia compared to the numbers of people who struggle with eating disorders. Okay. Before we go to break real quick question. We live in a very. Affluent society? Okay. We're probably the most affluent country in the world, I'm assuming that eating disorders probably don't exist in in the third world. I'm assuming that. So my question is how much of the constant bombardment that that particularly young people face every day through so many media outlets, whether it's television, whether it's the internet about the perfect body shape and the perfect style and the emphasis that's putting it looks that has to contribute to the problem. You folks are fighting anyone. Absolutely. I think there's no one reason why someone develops an eating disorder is a combination of factors, but our society definitely plays a huge role. And what we all look like, and I think our society idolizes the perfect body and that perfect body leads to body dissatisfaction, especially in our young people. We are talking about eating disorders and stick with us. I promise you'll learn a lot we get back. We'll continue our conversation will open up the phone line. Six one seven two five four ten thirty. Triple. Eight nine two nine ten thirty those of you out there who have a concern as to whether or not you're you're dealing with an eating disorder. You wanna give us a call and ask some questions that's not a bad idea. Join the conversation here on nightside back right after this. Nightside.