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Anna Westin Act Focuses on Early Identification and Treatment of Eating Disorders

Non-profit EveryDayMatters produces short documentary about bill’s namesake

Overland Park, Kan., May 27, 2015 – The U.S. House of Representatives has introduced The Anna Westin Act (HR 2515.) Westin was a Minnesotan who had battled anorexia for five years when she died in 2000 at the age of 21. Her family’s struggle to understand the disease and get Westin the treatment she needed was the impetus for this important legislation.

The bipartisan bill, introduced by U.S. Rep. Ted Deutch (D-FL 21st District) and U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL 27th District.), would require training for health professionals and school personnel to identify eating disorders in their early stages and to provide intervention.

“Anorexia has the highest mortality rate of any psychiatric illness,” notes Anna’s mother, Kitty Westin whose assertion is supported by the American Journal of Psychiatry. “I remember thinking, ‘Why aren’t people taking this more seriously?’ ”

As the legislation moves forward, EveryDayMatters, a 501(c)(3) organization supported by Netsmart, has released two short documentaries, “The Anna Westin Story” and “Your One and Only Human,” aimed at providing insight, education and inspiration for those seeking to understand and overcome these and other mental illnesses. EveryDayMatters short films reflect the EDM mission: to debunk myths and celebrate successes surrounding health and human services issues.

The Eating Disorders Coalition estimates that one American dies every hour from a medical condition related to an eating disorder. According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), 10 percent of the U.S. population will experience an eating disorder such as anorexia, bulimia or binge eating during their lifetimes. Early identification and treatment are essential because eating disorders are deadly mental illnesses.

EveryDayMatters encourages members of the public to send a message to their members of the U.S. House of Representatives, urging them to support The Anna Westin Act. And EDM asks that they share The Anna Westin Story and Your One and Only Human – post them, Tweet them or e-mail them – to help fight the stigma associated with eating disorders and other mental health illnesses.

The Anna Westin Act was introduced following the Eating Disorder Coalition’s (EDC) National Lobby Day. The annual event draws patients, providers and concerned citizens from across the country to brief congressional staff in Washington, D.C. about how eating disorders treatment can save lives and reduce medical costs.

About the EDC

The Eating Disorders Coalition is the advocacy organization for eating disorders. The coalition advances the recognition of eating disorders as a public health priority at the federal and state level.

About EveryDayMatters

EveryDayMatters is for those who are cause-connected, passionate and vision-driven about opportunities for recovery in the mental health community. Clinicians, practitioners, consumers and vendors in health and human services organizations, as well as industry vendors, are encouraged to share stories that celebrate successes and debunk myths about health and human services issues.

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