National Eating Disorders Association

NEDA supports individuals and families affected by eating disorders, and serves as a catalyst for prevention, cures and access to quality care.

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$3.9M

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74%

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4%

CEO Compensation

Advocacy

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Awareness

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Direct Service

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Private Sector Collaboration

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Policy Legislation

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Research

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Management

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About the National Eating Disorders Association

The National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA) was formed in 2001 with the merging of the organizations Eating Disorders Awareness & Prevention and American Anorexia Bulimia Association. NEDA is dedicated to both preventing and treating eating disorders. In addition to awarding research grants and advocating for legislative policies that increase funding for eating disorder research, NEDA provides direct help to individuals with eating disorders and their family members. These programs include an information and referral helpline, a 24/7 crisis text line, and online screening tools. They’ve partnered with major companies such as Aerie, Facebook, and Instagram to reach those most at-risk of eating disorders, increase early detection, and get individuals with eating disorders the support that they need.


Why We Chose to Feature This Organization

Eating disorders are common, serious, and misunderstood. In the US alone, 20 million women and 10 million men will experience an eating disorder during their lifetime. Eating disorders affect people of all ages, genders, ethnicities, and sizes. Options for treatment and support are hard to come by, leaving many people without the help that they need. This is incredibly dangerous given the fact that eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of any mental illness.

In order to decrease their prevalence and improve success rates of treatment, eating disorders need to receive more research funding, screenings and preventative measures need to be implemented, and treatment options need to be evidence-based and readily available. NEDA works towards all these goals by awarding research grants, generating awareness about symptoms and treatment options, offering helplines and treatment directories, and advocating for legislature that would increase funding for research. The direct help they offer individuals suffering from an eating disorder and their families is invaluable, while their work behind the scenes funding research and influencing policies is imperative to creating real change and improving the lives of people with eating disorders.

Awareness

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Management

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National Eating Disorders Awareness Week

Every year, NEDA organizes an awareness week that centers on a different theme. The main goal, however, is always the same: to put eating disorders in the national spotlight, improve people’s understanding of causes, symptoms, triggers, and treatment, and to get resources to those in need.

The 2018 theme for NEDA Awareness week was “Let’s Get Real”. and it took place from February 26th to March 4th. Many myths surround eating disorders. People think that having an eating disorder is a choice, and that they only affect thin, young, white women. This is simply not true. Eating disorders can affect anyone regardless of their size. Men and women of all ethnic and economic backgrounds have eating disorders.  

Shareable graphics created specifically for Facebook and Instagram featured quotes from people struggling with eating disorders. The subjects were diverse, ranging from male football players to overweight women. In sharing less stereotypical images and stories from people with eating disorders, persistent myths are dispelled, and the true nature of their impact are shown.    

In addition to the shareable graphics, NEDA provided videos, posters, infographics, and brochures that illustrated the facts about eating disorders. Topics included an overview of what eating disorders are, warning signs and symptoms, how to help a loved one, eating disorders and suicidality among LGBTQ youth, eating disorders in athletes, and common co-occurring conditions.

Event resources are also provided. An especially beneficial resource was their “Eating Disorders 101 Presentation” and corresponding guide to hosting a screening event. These presentations and screenings were offered at universities across the country, as were panel discussions, film screenings and discussions, yoga classes, bingo nights, and more. While eating disorders can affect people of any age, they typically become full-blown between the ages of 18-21. It is estimated that between 10-20% of women and 4-10% of men in university are affected, so hosting these events at universities is wise.

The results from past NEDAwareness events are impressive. In 2016, 200 million people accessed information and resources through social media, and 40,000 people took the online screening. Across the country, famous buildings including the Empire State Building, Seattle’s Great Wheel, and the Wrigley Building were illuminated in the colors of NEDAwareness Week, which are green and blue. With each NEDAwareness week, new people are reached, and thousands of lives are potentially saved.

NEDA Walks

Each year, NEDA Walks take place in over 65 cities across the United States in order to educate affected individuals and their families about eating disorder realities and available resources. These walks also generate funds which are used to pay for NEDA’s vital programs, including their free hotline, 24/7 Crisis Text Line, online screening tool, and research grants.

Interested participants can register online as an individual, team captain, or join an existing team. Walkers are provided with a participant packet that explains how to set up and personalize fundraising pages (a fundraising website is provided by NEDA), fundraising tips, sample email donation requests, and a donation form that can be used for offline donations. A social media toolkit is also provided and includes shareable graphics and sample posts that will inspire people to donate or participate themselves. Fundraising rewards are available for those who raise over $250 and include branded tote bags, foldable chairs, and a Bluetooth speaker.

Helpline & Crisis Text Support

NEDA operates a volunteer-run helpline that provides support, resources, and treatment options. It is available Monday-Thursday from 9am-9pm ET and Friday from 9am-5pm. For those who are telephone-averse (as many teens and young adults are), an online instant messaging version is also provided during the same hours. Crisis situations don’t always take place during business hours, and for that reason a 24/7 Crisis Text Line is available. People in need can text “NEDA” to 741741 to be connected with a trained volunteer who can help them right away. This service is immensely beneficial. Having a confidential, easy to use, and informative helpline is crucial in today’s world where people often look to the internet for answers before going to their doctor or reaching out to loved ones.

Feeding Hope Fund

In 2013, NEDA started their Feeding Hope Fund, a gift campaign which provides funds for clinical research of eating disorders. Eating disorders affect 30 million people in the United States. Anorexia has the highest mortality rate of any mental illness, making it crucial that we understand the causes and effective treatments of eating disorders. Despite these troubling facts, eating disorder research receives very little funding in comparison to other mental disorders. The difference is stark: Alzheimer’s research receives $88 per affected individual, schizophrenia research receives $80, and autism receives $44. For eating disorders, that amount is only $.93.  

The goal of the Feeding Hope Fund is to advance clinical research and training so that those suffering from eating disorders can receive effective treatment and supported recovery. Since its inception over $1 million in grants have been awarded. Past recipients hail from Stanford University and Stanford University School of Medicine, University of California San Diego, Drexel University, and Boston Children’s Hospital. Study topics have included “An Innovative Family Based Treatment for Adults with Anorexia Nervosa Using Insights from Neurobiology” and “The Economic Case for Eating Disorders Prevention and Early Detection: A Comparative Cost-Effectiveness Analysis of Six Intervention Strategies”.

Management

National Eating Disorders Association

Claire Mysko

Chief Executive Officer

Experience and Education
  • Author of Does This Pregnancy Make Me Look Fat? and Girls Inc. Presents: You’re Amazing! A No-Pressure Guide to Being Your Best Self
  • Assistant Director of Communications at Girls Inc.
  • Master of Arts in Gender Studies from The New School
Compensation
$171,000

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