National Eating Disorders Association Expands Mentoring Programs to Include ‘Loss Support Network’

Successful ‘Navigator’s’ Program Launched in March

Online PR News – 16-September-2011 – – NEW YORK CITY — Expanding its successful NEDA Navigator’s program launched in March, the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA) today announced a second unique, but much needed new program, the NEDA Loss Support Network.

NEDA Navigators – which now numbers 87 Navigators in 31 states and two Canadian provinces – help guide those struggling or concerned about a loved one to connect with local treatment options and resources and to provide compassionate and experienced personal support.

The newly created NEDA Loss Support Network will bring together and connect those who have lost a loved one to an eating disorder and is one of the numerous support programs provided by NEDA’s Parent, Family & Friends Network (PFN).

Commented Lynn Grefe, president and CEO of NEDA, “We deeply regret the need for a program of this nature, but it is long overdue. We have the utmost respect for the brave and compassionate committee of family members who have lost a loved one to an eating disorder and who have joined with NEDA to develop a support network to connect those in need. For anyone who has suffered this unthinkable loss, there is a special compassion that can only come from those who have experienced a similar loss, who can truly empathize with the unique pain and challenges. Many in society simply do not understand that eating disorders can be deadly and, based on the number of family members I speak with, that number has unfortunately continued to grow.”

Commented Pearl Mattensen, a founding NEDA Loss Support Network member in New Jersey, “My younger sister Karyn succumbed to her eating disorder at 46. For 30 years, my parents and I lived through a vicissitude of emotions, facing hope and despair in equal measure. Coming together with other families who have lost loved ones to an eating disorder has been one of the most healing things I have done. I know what it is like to have unresolved feelings of guilt and sadness … even anger. And it’s a small measure of relief to learn that you are not alone in the experience. I believe in the power of listening to each other and, by extending myself to others, I honor my sister’s memory.”

Added Brian Smith, a California-based volunteer, “My daughter Janell lost a battle with anorexia more than eight years ago at age 26. I suppose that the old adage, “time heals all wounds” is appropriate. However, reminders are not uncommon and personal setbacks occur quite frequently. I will be happy to support anyone enduring the pain and suffering associated with the loss of a child.”

Like NEDA Navigators, the newly launched program operates at no cost to participants and on the same basis of confidentiality, shared-experience wisdom and support strategy as Alcoholic Anonymous’ successful, 76-year-old sponsor program. The Loss Support Network offers three different ways for those who have lost a loved one to an eating disorder to connect and find support: 1) Those who are comfortable speaking with others about their loss can register as volunteers to support individuals struggling to cope with a recent loss. 2) Individuals who have suffered a recent loss may request to be connected with a registered volunteer. 3) Support volunteers may request a contact list of other registered volunteers.

As NEDA continues to aggressively build and expand the programs, the organization is also working to distribute information about this confidential, no-cost mentoring service to mental health, medical and educational professionals across the country.

The Loss Support Network is advised by Ilene Fishman, L.C.S.W., who specializes in the treatment of eating disorders in private practice in New York City and is a founder of NEDA. Fishman additionally serves as a co-advisor to the NEDA Navigator’s program with Dr. Doug Bunnell, Ph.D., a NEDA founder, past board president and Director of Outpatient Clinical Services for the Renfrew Center.

9th Annual Conference

Additionally, a grief and loss round table discussion will be held at NEDA’s ninth annual conference geared toward families, Reaching for the Stars! Advancing the Prevention and Treatment of Eating Disorders, Oct. 13-15 in Los Angeles.

For a full schedule of conference speakers and panels (as well as professional tracks), visit:

The National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA), headquartered in New York City, is the leading U.S. non-profit organization supporting individuals and families affected by eating disorders. NEDA serves as a catalyst for prevention, cures and access to quality care. Each year, NEDA helps millions of people across the country find information and appropriate treatment resources through its toll-free live helpline (800-931-2237), its many outreach programs and website. NEDA advocates for advancements in the field and envisions a world without eating disorders. For more information, visit

For Treatment Referrals, Visit
Or Contact NEDA’s Live Helpline: 800-931-2237
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